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Face Mask

Artist/Maker: Ibibio people (Nigeria)

Date: not dated
Medium: wood, plant fiber and pigment
Overall: 8 3/8 x 8 3/8 x 4 in. (21.3 x 21.3 x 10.2 cm)
Classification: Clothing, Accessories and Jewelry
Credit Line: Gift of Alan Potamkin
Object number: 2007.48.112
DescriptionThe naturalistic style of this mask suggests that it comes from the Anang Ibibio and specifically the town of Ikot Ekpene, a famous carving center that supplied masks for a broad area and even for non-Ibibio patrons. The style associated with Ikot Ekpene features realistic facial features set in a serene face with smoothly curving surfaces. The eyes are characteristically down cast. The nose would have had a high bridge with distinctly carved nostrils. The lips would have been full and fleshy. In spite of the extreme age and wear on this mask, those qualities are very apparent here. This is an unusually sensual and naturalistic mask. It conveys a great sense of power and presence in spite of its simplicity. The dark coloration and white paint around the eyes suggest that this may have been a mask of the Ekpo society. It has none of the deformities and grotesqueness of Ekpo masks except for the parted lips revealing large teeth.
Not on view
In Collection(s)