YORUBA EPA MASK NIGERIA
An incredibly intricate, hand carved and pigmented wooden Epa style mask from the
Yoruba people of Nigeria. This highly detailed piece features a horse and rider surrounded by multiple male and female figures. Epa masks are among the largest masks dance by
the Yoruba people and are made from a single piece of wood. The final products come in a variety of sizes but can weigh in excess of 100 pounds and measure 6 feet high or more. The men who dance with these masks must be in good physical condition and practice balance regularly as it is difficult to maneuver about with such a large, heavy object.
The Epa mask festival lasts for several days where sacred ceremonies take place strengthening fertility and honoring ancestors. There are many variations of Epa masks. Epa masks are also worn amidst rites of passage ceremonies and during funerals. When these masks are not being worn for one reason or another, they are kept in shrines and are honored with libations and prayers.