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Ekoi Ejagham Animal Head and Basket Cap African Art

Product #: 92173
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Title Ekoi Ejagham Animal Head and Basket Cap African Art
Type of Object Head Crest, mask, headpiece
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Ekoi Ejagham
Materials Wood, leather, pigment
Approximate Age second half 20th century
Dimensions 28 inches H. x 17.5 inches W. x 20 inches D.
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 worn leather, shallow cracks and chips in mouth, damaged basket

Additional Information: An expressive animal head Crest  with a open jaw showing the tongue, and the teeth . The head is covering with skin with shiny patina. Headpiece has its original  basket cap made of  vegetal fibers. Such masks  were worn on the top of the head.  The mask comes from the Ejagham (also known as Ekoi) , Nigeria 

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.

Recommended Reading: Blier's" AFRICA'S CROSS RIVER."

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