Eket Marionette Mask



The Eket tribes are a southern Ibibio Ekpo subgroup that comes from Nigeria. A group of village elders and the heads of extended families rule individual villages. Members of the Ekpo society, who act as messengers of the ancestors, play a political, legislative, judicial, and religious role in the village. Ekpo is the Ibibio word for "ancestor," as well as the name of the principal masking society. The Ekpo society requires that its initiates sponsor feasts for the town, which encourage the redistribution of wealth by providing the poor with food and drink. Ekpo members are always masked when performing their policing duties, and although their identities are almost always known, fear of retribution from the ancestors prevents most people from accusing those members who abuse of their power.

The round face of this mask represents the moon and the triangles carved in relief represent the rays of the moon. Marionettes are used in ceremonies by the Econg, an association within the Ekets that has its name after the god of war. Masks were used to commemorate the deceased in funerals.


Height : 26″ (66cm)