African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Ekoi Mask

Ekoi/ Ejagham Janiform Crest Mask (N° 13811)

Ex-French tribal art collection.
Crests in the African art of the Ejagham/Ekoi.
Leopard societies, such as the men's society Kpe, Ngbe among the Aro of Nigeria, used this model of crest masks for initiation ceremonies or funerals of members of the association, but also during rituals Agricultural. A janiform cephalomorphic sculpture, established on a conical base in braided basketry, is sheathed with animal skin, usually antelope. Its hairstyle consists of six extravagant removable horns, in volutes, which are also covered in leather. The oil whose object has been greased confers a lacquered appearance on it. The protruding eyes, surrounded by kaolin, animate the dark patina. The dancer's costume consisted of a large lattice of raffia ropes, and more recently, cotton fabric. The masks were coated with palm oil before use, and placed in daylight so that their leather would soften and adopt a satisfying luster. The hairstyle would represent that of the young women named Moninkim after their traditional confinements during which the nkimdance was taught to them. Other dance groups, such as the Ikem , still wore these masks in the 2000s. (Nigerian Arts Revisited, N. Barley) This type of African cephalomorphic mask, which would originally represent the trophy head of an enemy, is found in the Efik, Keaka, Banyang, Boki, Ibibio, etc. Coming from Calabar, these African masks were originally produced by the Ekoi (Ejagham) and were shipped throughout the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria. As early as the 17th century, local people were influenced by Europe through commercial transactions and the naturalism of their sculptures seems to result. (U.0022Africa", Ed. Prestel, T. Phillips)  

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Originex-collection Cordier.
Material(s)wood, plant fibre
Height cm42
Width26 cm
Weight1.62 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°

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