Tribal art > African mask > Epa mask
Epa Yoruba Mask (N° 18866)
The Ekiti of the northeastern part of the Yoruba region use polychrome heaumes masks of a wide variety of types associated with the Epa ( or Elefon) cult. They appear at funerals or rites of passage. The release of these masks, which have been painted by their owners, takes place every two years. These ceremonies are also supposed to increase fertility. This is a sanctuary mask that benefited from libations.
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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