Accession Number



Object Creation Date
circa 1940

Medium & Support
wood, paint and raffia

24 1/2 in x 14 in x 17 3/4 in (62.2 cm x 35.5 cm x 45 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Germaine Gibson

Subject matter
While the exact provenance of this object is not known, it could possibly have been made by Idoma or northern Igbo peoples. As neighbors in what is today southeastern Nigeria, stylistic similarities can be seen in many Igbo and Idoma objects, particularly masks. This may be a cap mask worn on the top of the head, as evidenced by the raffia basketry ring around the bottom of the neck. However, similar masks have been described as both northern Igbo and Idoma. This mask may be related to the Igbo Ekpe ancestor society that used fierce, dark colored masks in contrast to gentle, light colored masks with calm faces. Though many masks described in this manner are half the size of this mask, one close in size is described as "exceptionally old". Perhaps that is the case with this mask; the hat atop the head seems to be European in style, which could reflect the British colonial influence in the early 20th century. 

References Cited: 
Blier, Suzanne Preston. 1980. Africa's Cross River. New York: L. Kahan Gallery Inc. 
Wittmer, Marcilene K. and William Arnett. 1978. Three Rivers of Nigeria. Atlanta: The High Museum of Art. 

Physical Description
Mask in the form of a large, carved head and neck. The mouth is open slightly to reveal teeth, the nose is large, and there is dark pigment surrounding the eyes. There are facial markings that curve around the cheeks, along with two small circles by each eye and three small squares above the nose. The hair is scallop-shaped around the edges and atop the head is a hat. At the bottom of the neck is a base of raffia. 

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

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Colonial African

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