Headcrest

MAKER:
Artist

Asikpo Edet Okun of Ibonda ( 1875 - 1925 )

CULTURE:
Efut peoples
DATE:
Late 19th–early 20th century
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General Description

This dramatic headcrest features lifelike facial features that the sculptor achieved by stretching damp antelope skin tightly over carved contours. Painting the eyebrows and adding pupils and teeth also adds to the illusion of naturalism. The elaborate hairstyle, composed of separately carved spirals and small pegs, is based on what worn by young women at a ceremony celebrating their entry into womanhood. The "beautiful maiden" headcrest was worn atop a costumed male dancer's head in the entertaining ikam masquerade.

Asikpo Edet Okun, a renowned Efut sculptor, carved for clients throughout the entire Cross River region in southern Nigeria. His work was so much in demand that he could charge a drum of palm oil for a mask.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.