From our private collection, on offer is this splendid janiform helmet mask from the Ekoi/Ejagham peoples of Nigeria. The Ekoi are known for their unusual, dramatic masks & headcrests - often impressively sized structures with multiple faces &/or appendages. Perhaps the single most distinctive feature of their masks is the animal (antelope) skin that has been stretched over & adhered to the surface of the carved wood masks. Ceremonially used, such pieces are worn during initiation & funereal rites, & other rituals.
Clearly the work of only the most skilled & mature of carvers, powerful, deeply human facial features sets this highly sculptural mask apart... Wooden pegs are plugged into the top of the head with braided fabric outlining the outer perimeter of the pegs. Rows of coated & painted metal teeth have been inserted into the upper lips of both faces. White pigment highlights the eyes. Attachment holes perforate the bottom rim of the mask.
Despite a few imperfections in the wood & leather, this profoundly exciting piece is in very good overall condition. Commensurate with age & wear, there are scrapes & abrasions; a couple of minor chips; some of the pegs are missing; & there is evidence of old insect damage (arrested). Superb patina, encrusted in places. Magnificent display with tremendous impact. Museum & gallery worthy, this would be a significant acquisition for any serious collection.