African art > African mask > Yorouba Mask
Masque Yoruba Ekiti Epa (N° 19025)
The Ekiti of the northeastern part of the yoruba region use polychrome heaume masks illustrating the prosperity of the community. The base of the mask, named ikoko, is surmounted by a maternity figure associated with one of the multiple gods orisa of the yoruba pantheon. These masks, painted by their owners, are released every two years. Despite the weight of the masks, the dancers perform spectacular acrobatic demonstrations. These ceremonies are also supposed to increase fertility. Crusty polychrome patina.
The Yoruba, more than 20 million, occupy the southwestern part of Nigeria and the central and southeastern part of Benin under the name of Nago. They are patrilineal and practice excision and circumcision. The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu were born following the disappearance of the Ife civilization and are still at the base of the political structure of the Yoruba. The Oyo created two cults centered on the still active societies Egungun and Sango that worship a pantheon of gods, the Orisa, through ceremonies using masks, statuettes, scepters and divination supports. The slave trade contributed to the dissemination of the beliefs of the Yoruba across the continents.
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