Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

epa mask
  • Yoruba peoples
  • epa mask, late 1800s–1975
  • Where object was made: Nigeria
  • wood, paint, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 119 x 35 x 13 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 46 7/8 x 13 3/4 x 5 1/8 in
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Kenneth Palmer
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3175

The mask has three figures on the superstructure. The mask portion is a human face with red skin, a simple black cap and three points on either side of the face. The middle point is white, the others are black. The eyes are carved in relief, but painted black and rimmed with white. There are rectangular cutouts below.

The base of the superstructure is a horizontal bar decorated with squares of red or black. The squares are outlined with white, and the lateral squares have a white "X." Three of the kneeling female figures atop the bar are all red. The center figure is the largest. She has an elaborate six-pointed hairstyle. She wears ear ornaments and a square necklace. Her breasts and back are marked with irregular black lines. She has a prominent navel tipped with black. She is wearing a skirt with vertical black, white and red stripes. Her arms are on the backs of the lateral figures. The lateral figures are smaller. They are dressed the same with the same hairstyle, though the figure on the proper left of the mask is larger. Each has a tall pointed hairstyle and wears white and black neckrings. Their breasts are tipped with black. They wear white skirts and each holds a white object in front of her abdomen.