Ekoi Wooden Dance Crest Covered in Hide

SKU PF.5355

20th Century AD


12″ (30.5cm) high


Wood, Fiber, Hide


Southeastern Nigeria

Gallery Location



Dramatic and visually powerful, this dance crest presents a superb example of Ekoi art. Elements in common with this type of object are the open mouth revealing large wooden teeth, intensely staring white eyes, and the rich red coloration of the skin. Graphic physical features noted in the high arched brows, and in particular the raised curved lines on the cheeks, like thick veins, indicating straining of the muscles during an intensely emotional state. The hairstyle is created by fiber bands twisted into “ropes,” while the base is of interlacing raffia fiber. Dance crests (which are held in the hand) are used in the enforcement of rules by the Ekoi society whose members maintain strict codes of behavior. This would account for the fierce expression exuding a sense of moral authority and physical strength.

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