Title Ibibio Headcrest Mask Nigeria African Art Collection
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Niger River Delta
People Ibibio, see also Igbo
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age Mid 20th Century
Height (in) 22
Width (in) 6
Depth (in) 6
Other Dimensions Height: 22 Inches
Width: 6 Inches
Depth: 6 Inches
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two
continents, and have been treasured by several owners. Small splits, scrapes
and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and
extensive use. We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report
any damage we find in our listings. Please look carefully at the pictures
which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Repaired arm
Additional Information: This mask is from the Ibibio people who live in the
area between the Niger Delta and the Cross River. In this region a number of
culturally and linguistically related peoples share mask styles often drawing
upon one another for imagery and perhaps even carvers who have some degree of
mobility. The Ibibio live in a largely dense tropical forested area in small
village groupings where they exercise social control through the activities of
male secret society known as Ekpo. This secret society in based upon a cult of
ancestors who advise, direct, and guide the Ibibio in all facets of their
lives. Such masks danced by the exclusively male Ekpo Society are known as
Idiok, Ifiok is said to be an ugly mask that represents the dead, who are seen
as wandering spirits that are potentially evil and have dark powers. Masks with
deformed features often play upon the idea of an anti-aesthetic as they depict
physical deformities or the effects of disease characterizing evil or
malevolent spirits. It is a demanding exercise to identify all Ibibio masks as
to their forms and functions for they are often subject to many sculptural
influences and a number of their cult, ritual activities and masks are drawn
from their larger neighbors the Igbo or the smaller groups including the Anang
and the Oron Ibibio.
From the Collection of Robert Pearson, Denver, Colorado
Bob Pearson began collecting African art later in his life. He was a n
engineer, inveterate climber, and long-time collector of books and
paintings. Spurred by the Douglas Society at the Denver Museum of Art, and his
friendship with noted collector George Heggarty, he began building an enormous,
eclectic collection. His African art library grew to several hundred books. He
loved textiles and “material culture”-things which had domestic use, like
spoons, cups, stools, and chairs, as well as masks and carvings. His
collection included items from more than thirty African countries, and his fine
eye gave him pieces ranging from a golddust scale to huge Dogon figural
ladders. Africa Direct is honored to have been chosen to sell them.
All content, including pictures, Copyright Africa Direct Inc., 2021
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