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Crest mask
Date: Early 20th century
Medium: Wood, animal skin, plant fiber, bone, dye
Dimensions: H x W x D: 41.5 x 85.5 x 22.3 cm (16 5/16 x 33 11/16 x 8 3/4 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Walt Disney World Co., a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company
Geography: lower Cross River, Calabar area, Nigeria
Object Number: 2005-6-1
Search Terms:
female
Male use
Exhibited: Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa's Arts

Skin-covered masks in Africa are found only in southeastern Nigeria and western Cameroon. Historical evidence suggests that the peoples of this region regard skin as a substance associated with the spirits of the dead and their animal counterparts. The facial features are realistically portrayed. The spiral horns are similar to the hairstyles worn by girls during a ceremony marking the end of their seclusion prior to marriage.

Wood head covered with yellow tone antelope skin with two massive curled horns covered in dark antelope skin projecting sideways from the top of the head. The basketry flange is attached to the base of the neck. Ovoid wood pegs are inserted along the hairline. There are dark circles next to the eyes.

Paul and Ruth Tishman, New York, -- to 1984


Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa's Arts, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 4, 2017-ongoing



The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection Highlights, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., May 21, 2009-June 4, 2014



African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., February 15, 2007-March 31, 2009



Pavilion, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October 2, 2002



For Spirits and Kings: African Art from the Paul and Ruth Tishman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1981


Owczarek, Nina. 2014. Skin-covered Masks from the Cross River Region of Nigeria and Cameroon at the National Museum of African Art: A Technical Study. Journal of the American Institute for Conservation. 53 (3): 185.


Freyer, Bryna M. and Christine Mullen Kreamer. 2010. "The Collection of the National Museum of African Art Smithsonian Institution." Sculpture Review LIX (1), p. 20.



Kreamer, Christine Mullen. 2006. "African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection." Tribal Arts 43, p. 78, no. 1.



Kreamer, Christine Mullen and Andrea Nicolls. 2007. African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, pp. 214-215, no. 76.



National Museum of African Art. 2007. 2007-2008 School Calendar: Featuring the new Let's Read about Africa and the Sounds of African Music programs. Museum calendar. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, November 2007.



Vogel, Susan (ed). 1981. For Spirits and Kings: African Art from the Paul and Ruth Tishman Collection. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 167-168, no. 99.


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