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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Masks : Yoruba Wooden Epa Mask
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Yoruba Wooden Epa Mask - DA.368
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 1850 AD to 1930 AD
Dimensions: 53" (134.6cm) high
Collection: African Art
Style: Yoruba
Medium: Wood

$9,000.00
Location: United States
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Description
Among the Yoruba peoples of Southern Nigeria, the Epa cult is found primarily in the northeastern kingdoms. Centered around the worship of Epa, a wood-carving deity, ceremonies and religious festivities honoring this god feature large, impressive helmet masks such as this one. Complex in form and monumental in scale, these masks are among the most distinctive of all Yoruba mask types. At the end of the annual rites dedicated to Epa, the masks are brought out and worn by young male dancers who demonstrate their athleticism by balancing such a heavy, cumbersome burden upon their heads. When they are not worn, they are housed in special shrines where they are offered prayers and libations. Such masks typically memorialize important family ancestors who are revered for the fine moral character. This specific type of mask is called “eyelashe,” roughly translated as “mother-who-has-power.” She can be recognized by certain royal attributes, including most prominently her high crested coiffure and the fan she holds in one of her hands. In her other hand, she holds a sacrificial cock. She is seated upon a bridled horse and surrounded by an entourage of drummers and various royal attendants. The base of the mask, which fits over the wearer’s head, has been carved with a janus (double-face) head. - (DA.368)

 

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