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

Ekoi Mask (N° 27508)

Worn on the head as a crest, the African masks of Nigeria.
Ideal of feminine beauty among the Ejagham, the extravagant hairstyle composed of four volute outgrowths, trimmed with leather and removable, represents the hair extensions of young girls at the end of their period of initiatory seclusion. The whole thing has been coated with oil, the brown patina being like ice. The dancer's costume was made up of a large latticework of raffia cords, and, more recently, cotton fabric. The masks were coated with palm oil before use, and placed in daylight so that the leather softened and took on a satisfactory luster. Leopard societies, such as the Kpe male society, Ngbe among the Aro, used this model of crests for initiation ceremonies or funerals of members of the association, but also during agricultural rituals. The hairstyle would represent that of young women at the end of their traditional seclusion during which the Nkim dance was taught to them. Other dance groups, such as Ikem, still wore these masks in the 2000s. (Arts of Nigeria revisited, N. Barley)(Arts of Nigeria, 5Continents, A.Lebas) ("Africa", Ed. Prestel, T. Phillips)  

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OriginCollection française
Material(s)wood, peau animale, vannerie
Height cm43
Depth35 cm
Width35 cm
Weight1.25 Kg

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