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ID number:  BIRRC-D0195
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Title / Object name:  Dance mask
Object type:  Mask
Place made:  Ikot-Ekpene, S.E. Nigeria
Culture:  Ibibio
Date made:  1950s
Collector:  Lidderdale, Halliday Adair
Materials:  Light coloured wood
Measurements:  25 x 17 x 6 cm
BIRRC-D0195.jpg

This Ibibio mask imitating a human head has been carved in light coloured wood with a conical headdress. This is possibly representative of an 'mfon ekpo' mask or daytime mask. These are often painted white or yellow and are generally used in burials to represent the spirit of the dead person transgressing to paradise. Ekpo is the most predominant of several secret societies of the Ibibio and has a rich tradition of masquerade as well as occupying important roles within its communities. The 'mfon ekpo' mask represents the positive aspects of an Ibibio life well lived whereas the alternative 'idiok ekpo' mask with its grotesque features represents the doomed souls destined to never find rest.

This piece was lent to the Danford Collection by H. A. Lidderdale in 1968 and was acquired by bequest in 1992.

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