Africa

Ekoi mask comparison

Q:  Every year in Tucson, there is a Gem & Mineral Show that lasts about a week and takes over most of the city.  Among other things, they also have an “African Village” where sellers from all over Africa come to hawk their wares.  Most of it is tourist trash, but every once in a while someone shows up with a gem.

This comes from the Ekoi (aka Ejagham) people of the Cross Rivers area of Nigeria.  Other than it being a helmet mask of an antelope, I’m not sure what type it is. The other Ekoi animal masks I’ve seen had a more crocodile look to them. Maybe someone with more African expertise than I have will have some idea of its nature.   Aaron, 1106
A:  Yes, this is a great find. It’s a well made helmet mask that appears to have been used in culture. For comparison, I’ve also posted a much more common Ekoi mask which was quickly carved, covered in leather, and meant to be worn on the top of the head. (Covering with leather is something the Ekoi often do to their carvings.) It looks brand new and would make a nice addition to someone’s African mask collection. You can get these on the Internet, but not something as special as Aaron’s antelope mask.

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