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ID number:  BIRRC-D0014
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Artist / Maker:  Bamgboye of Odo Owa (ca. 1893–1978)
Title / Object name:  Epa Helmet dance mask with zoomorphic crest
Object type:  Mask
Place made:  Odo-Oura, W. Nigeria
Culture:  Yoruba
Date made:  1952
Materials:  Wood
Measurements:  122 cm tall
BIRRC-D0014.jpg

This wooden mask has been carved with a zoomorphic crest including what appears to be a painted leopard, a cockerel and a gazelle.

This type of mask is the principal mask used in the Yoruba Epa ceremony and is called the 'oloko'. The main feature of these masks is the inclusion of the 'ekun' (leopard) jumping on the back of another animal. It was originally lent to the Collection by John Danford.

Notes:  John Danford spent the majority of his professional life working for the British Council in West Africa. He spent 11 years as the representative in Ibadan, Nigeria, his arts education providing him with the insight to encourage and develop the arts in Nigeria. For his achievements in this area he was awarded an OBE in 1953. He occupied three further posts in Trinidad, Manchester and Sierra Leone before illness forced him into retirement. In 1964 a large portion of his West African arts collection was loaned to the University of Birmingham before being purchased in 1975, forming the nucleus of the Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts.

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