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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Ibibio : Ibibio Wooden Polychrome Mask
Ibibio Wooden Polychrome Mask - PF.4836
Origin: Southeastern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 20.75" (52.7cm) high x 9.5" (24.1cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood and Paint

Location: United States
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The distance between the real and supernatural worlds is often quite narrow, and masks are used as a physical medium to bridge this gap. For Ibibio societies such as the ekpo, masks are a sort of receptacle for spirits, good and bad, to dwell within while on earth. A mask such as this unique example, may not have been worn, but rather displayed as a symbol of certain bush spirits. The definite animal element is seen in the tusks, with the addition of a third tusk which adds a surreal quality. The shape of the face is much like a hippopotamus, yet the eyes appear as expressly human. They seem to look in different directions at once, surveying the territory as if for the first time; inquisitive and intrigued. The Eket, a subgroup of the Ibibio, are famous for their large polychrome masquerade masks, and this mask may have been part of an elaborate ceremony. - (PF.4836)


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