Tribal art > African mask > Masque Ekiti
Masque Yoruba Ekiti Epa (N° 19074)
Ex-collection of Belgian African tribal art.
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The Ekiti of the northeastern part of the yoruba region use polychrome heaume masks associated with the Epa cult, illustrating the prosperity of the community. They appear during funerals or rites of passage. The base of the mask, named ikoko, is surmounted by a plateau on which two zoomorphic figures are carved in a round-bump. These masks, which will have been painted by their owners, are taken out every two years. Despite the weight of the masks, the dancers perform spectacular acrobatic demonstrations. These ceremonies are also supposed to increase fertility. Clear patina with polychrome highlights. Cracks, slight abrasions, and xylophagous impressions.
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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