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Yoruba Queen Mother Epa Helmet Mask Nigeria African Art

$1,199.00
Product #: 96869
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Title Yoruba Queen Mother Epa Helmet Mask Nigeria Africa
Type of Object Helmet mask
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Yoruba
Materials Wood, pigment and encrustation
Approximate Age Early to Mid 20th Century
Dimensions 45 inches x 11.5 inches x 11.5 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 Large cracks, chips, pitting, and a well worn patina


Additional Information: An extraordinary piece queen mother and 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, 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.


Recommended Reading: 


Drewal , H. J. and J. Pemberton III, with R. Abiodun Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought, (New York, 1989) Drewal, H. J. and M. Thompson Drewal., Gelede, Art and Female Power among the Yoruba. 1983. Fagg, W. and J. Pemberton III: Yoruba Sculpture of West Africa, (New York, 1982) Lawal, B.: The Gelede Spectacle. Art, Gender, and Social Harmony in an African Culture. (Seattle, London 1996) Mato, Daniel, Chelsea Cooksey, Yoruba: Art of Life. The Bennett-Luther Collection, Denver 2004  Witte, H.: A Closer Look; Local Styles in the Yoruba Art Collection of the Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal. 2004.