Yoruba Epa mask, Nigeria, HUGE, POWERFUL African
Additional Information: An extraordinary polychrome piece with mask surmounted by seated woman with baby. Epa masks are the largest masks danced among the Yoruba/Ekiti people of northern Nigeria. In fact they are examples of some of the largest masks used in Africa being carved from a single piece of wood that can weigh up to sixty pounds or more. They are worn as a helmet mask covering the dancer’s head completely.
Among the Ekiti Yoruba, the Epa festival celebrates life and abundance and the unity of the village and honor the familes and lineages who own and sponsor the mask and bask in a kind of reflected glory. They celebrate the life of honored elders and reinforce the corporate structure of the community. Epa masks appear during a heavily symbolic and choreographed performance during which three different large Epa masks appear in sequence. These large masks have extraordinary presence conveying some of their power to visually project abstract principles and sculptural authority. This example of an Epa mask would add its visual authority to any collection.
I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD