skin covered mask cameroon.jpeg

Ejagham or Igbo, Helmet Mask, Ejagham peoples, Cross River, Igbo, Nigeria, 20th Century
Wood, antelope skin, ochers, kaolin, pigment
Gift of Dr. John Ross

CAT 2017 JR 19


In Africa, skin-covered masks are only made in the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria and western Cameroon. The Ejagham people cover their masks with antelope skin, a technique that is unique to the Cross River region. These masks are used to communicate with ancestors for funerals, ceremonies of state, entertainment, and victory celebrations. The mask is topped with circular hair designs with 4 animal skin covered faces on the sides. One face typically represents a male figure while the remaining faces represent female, possibly his wives.

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of African Art