Tribal art > African mask > Igbo Mask
Igbo or Eket Dance Crest (N° 19884)
Endowed with a morphology with both feminine and masculine characters, this statue is erected on a base overhanging a calotte mask. The semi-flexed legs, however, evoke the tribal dance mbombo of the young girls during the Ogbom ceremonies, held before the altar at the close of the periods of seclusion. This danced ritual was dedicated to the deity of the earth named Ala among the Igbo, and Isong among the Ibibio . The crest masks were then kept near the chimney flues of the huts in order to be protected from insects. Thick cracked patina, colored highlights, localized abrasions. Old break on the nose and cracks.
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The Eket , established in southeastern Nigeria, are a subgroup of the Ibibio ethnic group renowned for their expressive masks. They are a patrilineal society whose villages are governed by the Ekpo Ndem Isong , a group of elders and heads of extended families. Their decisions are reinforced by members of the Ekpo society who act as messengers of the Ikan (ancestors) and who, during their political functions, are always masked. Their Ogbom ceremony, which takes place mid-year every eight days throughout eight weeks, is intended to appease the earth god named Ala , who grants fertility and abundant crops.
Source: "Arts of Nigeria," 5Continents; "The Other Face" ed. Adam Biro.
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