The epa cult is connected with the ancestors and agriculture. The epa masks have highly stylized features that vary little; but the superstructure, which may be four feet or more in height, is often of very great complexity. In the concluding ritual of the epa festival, the excitement and expectation of the participants mount as the last of the great masks appear from the forest to dance among the townspeople and receive the great homage of the chiefs and elders of the community. This mask is imaging the beauty and power of woman. The mask comes from the forest with measured pace and great dignity. She is referred to as "the leader" of all the women of the community. As she dances gracefully the masker receives and acknowledges the praises of the people, especially those of the women, who call for her blessing and aid in bearing children. Epa masks remember "the great ones of the family who are now dead".
Visit this mask on our museum site.
It just rerurned to us after 14 years in a private collection