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African Art – Ekpe Masquerade


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This masquerade is a wonderful example of African art. It originates from the Efiks who are also known as the in Cross River State of Nigeria. This hand crafted representation of the Ekpe masquerade can only be found in the remote villages and are carefully handcrafted by the villagers using dyed raffia and wool to create a true representation of the masquerade. Only men are allowed to wear the elaborate masquerade costumes and in some cases women are not allowed to look at the masquerades. This particular masquerade is steeped with cultural wealth and probably goes back to the time of the founding fathers. The Ekpe Masquerade is used in ceremonies, songs, dances and is usually accompanied by cultural drama. This masquerades also comes out during chieftaincy coronations, seasonal celebrations and other important events. It is an important cultural event in the life of the Efiks and its roots are deep in traditional religion. The Ekpe Masquerade, the folklores (known as Ekong-Nkeh, Nke Ekong Abasi) and the Ikombi dance has won international recognition, they have become a form of entertainment in welcoming important dignitaries to the state and at events outside the state. It has become a trademark of the Efiks and is becoming more widely recognised.

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