Epa Helmet Mask

11007895-1994_003_015_Dpa_ARC.tif

Title

Epa Helmet Mask

Keywords

Ceremonial costume, effigy, mask, sculpture

Date

early 20th Century

Context

West Africa, Nigeria
Yoruba, Ekiti region, town of Efon-Alaiye

Medium/Dimensions

Wood, pigment, encrustation
41 x 14 15/16 x 12 1/2 in. (104.2 x 38 x 31.8 cm)

Object Number

1994.003.015

Description

Epa headdress masks perform in biannual festivals held in Ekiti, Igbomina, and Ijesa communities of northern Yorubaland. During the Epa festival the history of a town is celebrated with the display of numerous masks. Each headdress is a memorial to the ancestors of the family that owns it. The lower, helmet-shaped portion of the mask depicts Eshu, the god who mediates between humans and other gods, while the superstructure depicts a particular individual, carved in a more naturalistic style. This Epa headdress makes dual reference to a farmer and a warrior/hunter, both essential characters in the founding and prosperity of a community. The equestrian figure conveys the warrior's military authority and its broad-brimmed hat is of a type worn by farmers as protection from the sun. Epa masks are also placed in familial shrines as objects of private devotion. The overall black encrustation of this headdress comes from repeated sacrifices and food offerings over many years.

Credit Line

Gift of William S. Arnett

Exhibits/Publications

Art of Nigeria from the William S. Arnett Collection, Michael C. Carlos Museum, October 15, 1994 - Jan. 2, 1995
Henry John Drewal, African Artistry: Technique and Aesthetics in Yoruba Sculpture (Atlanta: The High Museum of Art, 1980), 88, number 155.

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

“Epa Helmet Mask,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed February 22, 2020, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/8148.

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