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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Ibibio : Ibibio Wooden Polychrome Mask
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Ibibio Wooden Polychrome Mask - PF.4837
Origin: Southeastern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 18.25" (46.4cm) high x 12.75" (32.4cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Ibibio
Medium: Wood and Paint

Additional Information: closet AF13
Location: United States
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Celebrations and ritual ceremonies are directly linked to the various societies of the Ibibio. For instance, the ekpo society plays an important role in political, legislative and religious life of a village. They have two basic masks; one for wandering spirits, and another of spirits who have reached paradise. The Eket, a sub-group of the Ibibio, make polychrome panel-masks for use in different rituals. To express abstract qualities or represent spirits is at the heart of the mask's function; and in this handsome mask, we see the polychrome technique put to graphic use.

Against a background of purple-brown, the black and white eyes stand out very dramatically. The upper lip painted black juts outwards to reveal a fine row of large teeth above a protruding tongue. Nostrils of the nose flair widely as if taking deep breaths. Yellow on the cheeks have the effect of making the eyes seem even more vivid. The face stares at us with wonderment and excitement, as if a spirit has come from the land of dreams to the real world and likes what he sees!
- (PF.4837)


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