Epa (helmet mask)

About This Item

African artists often link the human and spiritual worlds. Masks can embody powerful deities, which are often called upon to guide the living. They can also represent deceased loved ones or community members. Wearing masks allows spirities to return to the living and participate in festivities and celebrations.

Date
20th Century
Geography
Yoruba people
Nigeria, Benin, or Togo, Africa
Medium
carved wood
pigment
Context
Research in the Global Museum’s archives show that most of the Africa collection comes from West Africa, yet the variety of objects here originated from almost every region in the continent, characterizing the itinerant movements people have between their neighboring communities. Materials and designs reflect their particular source communities and show evidence of cultural exchange and trade routes. On a deeper level, ceremony intermingles with daily life. There is balance between the living and the dead, where deceased loved ones or powerful spirits are embodied with human and/or animal characteristics to protect, soothe, or guide the living.
Height
18 in
Width
9.5 in
Depth
10.5 in
Copyright
Copyright status unknown. Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing, and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
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