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Mid-20th C. African Ibibio Ekpo Wooden Face Mask

Western Africa, Nigeria, Niger River Delta, Ibibio peoples, ca. mid 20th century CE. A large-scale face mask with a powerful visage comprised of coffee-bean-shaped eyes, a bulbous nose, toothy grin, rectangular ears, a puffy mandible, and a grandiose lobed coiffure. The head is crowned with a slender headband with an abstract, anthropomorphic face in the center, and the entire mask exhibits a lustrous dark-brown pigment. The Ibibio reside in small village groups and maintain social peace and order through the use of mask and figures that symbolize good and evil spirits. Such a fierce countenance represents an evil or immoral person who turned into an apparition following death. A stupendous example with a beautiful dark patina. Size: 9.25" W x 12" H (23.5 cm x 30.5 cm).

Condition: Age-commensurate surface wear, area of loss atop coiffure, wear to high-point areas on ears, nose, cheeks, chin, and headband, with fading and abrasions to pigmentation, otherwise very good.

Provenance: ex-Adeon Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, USA acquired prior to 1970

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