Painted Yoruba Style African Headcrest 9.5″ – Nigeria

$160.00

1 in stock

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This headcrest mask by the Yoruba people of Nigeria is an interesting piece. We had trouble identifying this piece as it also has some Igbo characteristics. The piece features a human like face with multicolored hair and a silver colored neck. The base has holes on the bottom which could be attached to a costume. This piece stands 9.5 inches tall and weighs 2 pounds. There is some paint missing and minor imperfections – please see photos.

Type of Object

Headcrest

Country of Origin

Nigeria

Ethnicity

Yoruba

Material

Wood, Pigment

Approximate Age

Unknown

Height (Inches)

9.5"

Width (Inches)

6.75"

Depth (Inches)

7.25"

Weight (Pounds)

2 lbs

Overall Condition

Paint chipping, scrapes and scuffs

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Tribe Information

About the Igbo People

The Igbo have an oral history that tells of their origins having come from a ‘sky being’ whom they call Eri. Eri was sent by Chikwu (God) down to Earth. When Eri first landed, he sat on an ant-hill looking at a marshy landscape. He began to complain about the conditions, so Chikwu sent a blacksmith who used bellows and charcoal to dry the land. Eri and his people lived plentiful until his death, in which all food ceased. One of Eri’s sons, Nri, objected to the lack of food, in which Chikwu’s reply was for him to sacrifice his first son and daughter and bury them in separate graves. 12 days after Nri complied, yams grew from his son’s grave and coco yam from his daughter’s. Later, Nri decided to kill a male and female slave, burying them the same way he did his children. Again, after 12 days, oil palm grew from the male slave’s grave while a fruit tree grew from that of the female slave. Since the creation of this Igbo oral tradition, all kings trace their origin back to the founding ancestor Eri and each king is a ritual reproduction of him.

Read more about the Igbo here.

About the Yoruba People

The Yoruba are the largest cultural group on the African continent, with nearly 40 million people. The word ‘Yoruba’ describes both the language and a tribe living across Nigeria and the Popular Republic of Benin, in an area of forest and savannah.

Geography
The Yoruba people’s primary living space is South-West Nigeria with substantial Yoruba communities in Benin, Togo and Sierra Leone but they are not bound by state or country borders. This area is often referred to as “Yorubaland”. Most of the terrain is either forest, woodland savannah, rich farmland or coastal swamps and lagoons.

History
The origin of the Yoruba people in Nigeria is heavily debated. Some believe they came from the east in Mecca, some say from the north in Egypt. Evidence shows that ethnically, Yoruba’s have been in the area known as Yorubaland since the 7th century BC. Scholars believe the area was probably inhabited earlier by peoples of the Nok culture. Yorubaland covers the modern-day countries of Nigeria, Togo and Benin. The term Yoruba to describe ethnicity, did not come about until the 16th century and wasn’t widely used until the 19th century. Before then, the Yoruba people were known by many names depending on who was acknowledging them. For instance, the Europeans referred to them as Akú, whereas in Cuba, they were referred to as O luku mi.

Read more about the Yoruba here.