The Ekiti of the northeastern part of the Yoruba region use polychrome heaumes masks associated with the Epa cult, illustrating the prosperity of the community.
They appear at funerals or rites of passage.
The base of the janiform mask, named ikoko, is surmounted by a tray, and then a second with serrated edges, on which various figures are erected. The release of these masks, which will have been painted by their owners, takes place every two years. Despite the weight of the masks, the dancers perform spectacular acrobatic demonstrations. These ceremonies are also supposed to increase fertility.
Polychrome crusty patina, abrasions.
The Yoruba, more than 20 million, occupy southwestern Nigeria and the central and southeastern region of Benin under the name Nago. They are patrilineal, practice excision and circumcision. The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu arose following the demise of the Ife civilization and still form the basis of the Yoruba political structure. The Oyo created two cults centered on the Egungun and Sango societies, still active, which worship a pantheon of gods, the Orisa , through ceremonies involving masks, statuettes, scepters, and divination media. The slave trade helped spread Yoruba beliefs across continents.
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