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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. Skins of antelopes were used.
Such leather-covered crests and masks are unique in all of Africa.
It is presumed that all masks and headdresses represented ancestors. They have mythological significance: male images representing Father Heaven, female Mother Earth. 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.
Provenance: Raskin Private Collection