Mask Artist(s)IbibioArtist NationalityIbibioObject Creation Datecirca 1940Medium & Supportwood, egg, and shellDimensions
14 11/16 in x 8 1/4 in x 6 11/16 in (37.31 cm x 20.96 cm x 16.99 cm)Credit LineGift of Lydia Johnstone
the Ibibio word for 'ancestor', was also the name of the most important men's society, called Ekpo Nyoho.
Usually shortened to just Ekpo
, the society had governmental, judicial, and economic functions. Masks used for festivals and masquerades for Ekpo
were either dark colored masks called idiok,
or light colored masks called mfon
. Such masks were thought to evoke both benign and malevolent ancestors, which were responsible for protecting their descendants.
Cole, Herbert M. 2012. Invention and Tradition: The Art of Southeastern Nigeria.
Munich: Prestel. Physical Description
Large, ovoid mask with a dark patina. The forehead of the face is raised, sloping down to a short, broad nose. The eyes are formed by two cresent shapes separated by a rectangle. On each cheek are three raised marks in a vertical line. The mouth is closed and may be moveable. Primary Object Classification Sculpture Primary Object TypemaskCollection AreaAfricanRights
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