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Ejagham Ekoi Janus Head Crest Skin Covering Nigeria Africa

$650.00
Product #: 83767
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Title Ejagham Ekoi Janus Head Crest Skin Covering Nigeria Africa
Type of Object headcrest, Mask
Country of Origin Nigeria, Cameroon (Cross River)
People Ejagham (Ekoi)
Materials Wood, reeds, straws, vegetal fibers
Approximate Age mid 20th century
Dimensions 20 inches H. x 8.5 inches W. x 11 inches d.
Overall Condition Good. Most ofour 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 cracks in head and in base, a few missing pegs, wear on leather, damage on base


Additional Information: A wonderful Janus  Head Crest known as Ngbe worn by members of Leopard Society among the  Ejagham (also known as Ekoi) from Nigeria Nigeria. This is a well preserved  head crest with its basket cap and only a few pegs are missing. 


A number of different groups living within close proximity to the Cross River share language, political and religious structures which influences their arts. Though generally ruled by a local elder Cross River societies depend to a great extent upon a number of men’s secret societies to regulate the community and to instruct and initiate men into various levels of their organization. The Ejagham identified as the Ekoi in the past have a men’s secret society called Ngbe, whose members are known for wearing large skin covered masks worn over costumes covering the body. Each Ngbe chapter would have a lodge within which a range of ritual equipment was kept including masks. Ngbe membership was originally identified with a warrior’s society on the Cameroon side of the Cross River region, however today Ngbe members are engaged in social control and political activities. Ngbe members use ritual equipment to initiate new members and celebrates their lives during funerals. Crest masks such as this one were worn on the top of the head attached to a basketry cap. 


See similar head crests in Marcilene K. Wittmer and William Arnett. Three Rivers of Nigeria . Art of the Lower Niger, Cross and Benue. From the Collection of William and Robert Arnett. The high Museum of Art. Atlanta. Georgia. 1978, Fig. 184, p. 78


I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.