Ekoi African Helmet Mask with a Raffia Beard 10″ – Nigeria

$195.00 $58.50


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Type of Object

Helmet Mask

Country of Origin




Approximate Age


Height (Inches)


Width (Inches)


Depth (Inches)


Weight (Pounds)


Overall Condition

Good, with some wear—see photos.

Tribe Information

About the Ekoi People

“The Niger River Delta are covers the entire southern part of Nigeria from the Benin River in the west to the Cross River in the east. There are two main cultural areas – the first includes the western side of the Niger River Delta and was first populated during the 9th century by migrating tribes who came from the north. The Ijo people were the first to settle in the area and now live on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Later, other tribes such as the Urhubo, the Isoko and the Ogoni settled in the northern and western part of this delta area. The second cultural area is centered around the Cross River in eastern Nigeria and is home to the Ibibio, the Igbo, the Ekoi, the Oron and the Eket. The latter shares the same Ekpo secret society which was first introduced to the area by the Ibibio people.
Ekoi artists carve cephalomorphic and zoomorphic headdresses, as well as Janus helmet masks, which tend to be covered with antelope skin. This technique, also used by other tribes of the region, consists of applying a fresh skin on top of a wooden core, and then adding hair and details. The Ekoi and other groups of the Cross River area have produce large monoliths, called Atal, which are thought to represent ancestors. One of these Atals dates from as far back as AD 200.”

Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print


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Additional Information

About Ekoi Masks

Ekoi masks have curled “horns” representing elegant hairstyles. A helmet mask such as this would have been secured on the wearer’s head by a string under the chin, with the body covered completely by a long gown. They purpose of this type of mask would be to educate young girls in preparation for marriage. The represented hairstyle was worn during the coming-out ritual following the girls’ seclusion.