Image: Nigerian mask

Nigerian mask

The Ibibio people live in small village groupings in largely dense tropical forests. Social control is exercised through the use of masks and figures representing good and evil spirits. There are two main forms of masks; those representing evil or people who have committed crimes (known as Idiok Ekpo) and their grotesque appearance reflects lost souls doomed to find no rest; and those aesthetically pleasing masks (Mfon Expo) that represent positive virtues.

Carved wooden mask, painted with pigment.

Melanie Van Olffen
© Australian Museum


Australian Museum Collection E76274

Donated in 1979

Provenance: Ibibio Tribe, Nigeria

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