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Mask

Accession Number
1984/1.266

Title
Mask

Artist(s)
Ibibio

Artist Nationality
Ibibio

Object Creation Date
1900-1984

Medium & Support
wood, paint, and mirrors

Dimensions
7 9/16 in x 5 7/8 in x 4 in (19.21 cm x 14.92 cm x 10.16 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Prof. and Mrs. Horace M. Miner

Subject matter
Ekpo, 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. The asymmetrical face and twisted nose of this mask suggest it could possibly be adiaha unak, an assistant to akpan idiok, another dark colored mask, considered the leader of Ekpo masks.

References Cited: 
Cole, Herbert M. 2012. Invention and Tradition: The Art of Southeastern Nigeria. Munich: Prestel. 

Physical Description
A small, oblong shaped mask with mirrors in the eyes and on the cheeks. The mask is dark in color, with a raised forehead ridge and small slits above the mirror-covered eyes. The nose is long and twists to one side of the face. 

Primary Object Classification
Sculpture

Primary Object Type
mask

Collection Area
African

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
ancestors
masks
masquerades
social institutions
societies

1 Related Resource

Cabinet V: Shelf 3
(Part of: Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved