Ejagham (Ekoi), Cameroon
Mother Earth headdress with
moving hands. The Ejagham are found in the easternmost part of southern Nigeria
and in the contiguous area of the western Cameroon. They are primitive agriculturists and
their main crops are yam, coconut and maize. The Ejagham produced skin-covered wooden
headdresses and masks of a demonic naturalism. Earlier skins of slaves, later skins of
antelopes, were used. It is presumed that all masks and headdresses represented ancestors.
They have mythological significance: male images representing Father Heaven, female Mother
Earth. The Ejagham masquerades performances generally
took place at the initiation or funerals of members of the associations, and also at
periodic rites connected with agriculture. The skin covering the headdress served as a
magical agent to invoke ancestral spirits, thus eroding the barrier between living and
dead participants in communal rituals.
Material: wood, antelope skin, vegetable fiber
H. 26, W. 14, D. 13