Skip to main content



Artwork Details

wood, paint, and mirrors
7 9/16 in x 5 7/8 in x 4 in (19.21 cm x 14.92 cm x 10.16 cm)
Gift of Prof. and Mrs. Horace M. Miner

On Display

Not currently on display


Subject Matter:

Ekpo, the Ibibio word for 'ancestor', was also the name of the most important men's society, called Ekpo Nyoho. Usually shortened to just Ekpo, the society had governmental, judicial, and economic functions. Masks used for festivals and masquerades for Ekpo were either dark colored masks called idiok, or light colored masks called mfon. Such masks were thought to evoke both benign and malevolent ancestors, which were responsible for protecting their descendants. The asymmetrical face and twisted nose of this mask suggest it could possibly be adiaha unak, an assistant to akpan idiok, another dark colored mask, considered the leader of Ekpo masks.

References Cited: 
Cole, Herbert M. 2012. Invention and Tradition: The Art of Southeastern Nigeria. Munich: Prestel. 

Physical Description:

A small, oblong shaped mask with mirrors in the eyes and on the cheeks. The mask is dark in color, with a raised forehead ridge and small slits above the mirror-covered eyes. The nose is long and twists to one side of the face. 

Usage Rights:

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.