Mask Headdress

11008125-1994_004_778_Dpa_ARC.tif

Title

Mask Headdress

Keywords

Mask

Date

late 19th Century

Context

West Africa, Nigeria
Ejagham, Akparabong Clan

Medium/Dimensions

Wood, skin, bamboo, pigment
17 11/16 x 6 11/16 x 6 11/16 in. (45 x 17 x 17 cm)

Object Number

1994.004.778

Description

The Ejagham (Ekoi) live in the Cross River area of southeast Nigeria and western Cameroon. The Ejagham and other Cross River ethnic groups are unique in their use of antelope skin to cover their masks and headdresses. The particular facial markings and hairstyle of this example date it to the late 19th century. These skin-covered masks and dance crests were used originally by associations of warriors and hunters as mimetic substitutes for the heads of defeated enemies. This explains in part their high degree of naturalism compared with other African masks. The use of skin as a covering also relates to the Ejagham belief in power through metamorphosis and transformation, which involved the transfer of the power of the slain enemy to the warrior owning the mask. With the cessation of warfare under the 20th-century colonial occupation, skin-covered heads began to be used in a variety of other dance contexts.

Credit Line

Ex coll. William S. Arnett

Exhibits/Publications

Art of Nigeria from the William S. Arnett Collection, Michael C. Carlos Museum, October 15, 1994 - January 2, 1995
Marcilene K. Wittmer and William Arnett, Three Rivers of Nigeria: Art of the Lower Niger, Cross, and Benue from the Collection of William and Robert Arnett (Atlanta: High Museum of Art, 1978), 79, number 187.

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2008.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

No

Citation

“Mask Headdress,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed April 5, 2020, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7973.

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