c. 1920s

Wood, pigment, plant fiber, and metal

Overall: 49.5 cm (19 1/2 in.)

Gift of Katherine C. White 1975.160



Among the Ibibio, this Ekpo mask with a serene face depicts a beautiful, beneficent soul. This one probably honored a young Ibibio maiden who graduated from the "fattening house," an initiation school where she was fed rich foods to strengthen and beautify her. The bead suspended around the neck of the surmounting head is an insignia of graduation. The double-braided coiffure may have been inspired by Victorian fashions observed by the sculptor in magazines or worn by English missionary women.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 

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