Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

epa mask
  • unknown Oyo maker
  • epa mask, late 1800s–1975
  • Where object was made: Central Oyo, Nigeria
  • wood, paint, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 127 x 31 x 34 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 50 x 12 3/16 x 13 3/8 in
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Kenneth Palmer
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3176
Label Text

The helmet style mask has a large superstructure. The mask has two faces, sharing black hair and square ears. The faces are the same: the eyes are carved in relief, but painted black with white rims. The rectangular mouth is cut out with one centrally located tooth.

The round platform sits atop the mask. It is black on top and white on the edge with downward pointing black triangles.

One large standing figure on the platform is surrounded by five smaller scale figures. The large figure is holding a bowl of round objects in her left hand, and a black and white staff with a bird in her right hand. She has a cone-like hairstyle and three vertical scars on each cheek. She wears ear ornaments, a white neckring and a square necklace. There are irregular black lines on her breasts, shoulders and upper arms. She has a prominent navel with a black tip.

The smaller scale figures are all standing at the perimeter of the platform.
1. The figure has a three bladed hairstyle. She wears a white skirt, which starts below her breasts and she is holding a white object in front.
2. The figure has a black and white striped hat, which slouches forward, and a square necklace and holds a white object.
3. The figure has a wedge shaped hat with a flat front, outlined in black and white. It is wearing a long black tunic or dress and holding a long object diagonally across the chest. He is also wearing a satchel over his chest.
4. The female figure has a container on its head, supported with both arms. It wears a skirt with black, red and white vertical stripes.
5. The figure has a black tunic and a black bowler-like hat with a wide white band. It holds a staff in front of its body.