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Yoruba, Nigeria: a large, old ‘Epa mask’, with a Janus-faced helmet below, a rider warrior (‘Jagun Jagun’) and 5 additional figures.


Yoruba, Nigeria: a large, old ‘Epa mask’, with a Janus-faced helmet below, a rider warrior (‘Jagun Jagun’) and 5 additional figures. - Stammeskunst / Tribal-Art; Afrika

Every two years the Yoruba people, or more precisely the Ekiti and Igbomina subgroups in the north-east of the Yoruba settlement area, celebrate the ‘Epa mask festival’ that lasts for several days. Sacred ceremonies and large processions protect and strengthen the prosperity and fertility of the land and the community, as well as honouring the most important ancestors of the Yoruba people. During these Epa processions at least four of these typical masks are always worn. These four types of mask are always carved from one piece of wood. The large head of the god Orangun is always below as a hollow ‘helmet’. Orangun is the first deified Yoruba King. The masked dancer pulls the helmet over his head and wears this ‘Epa mask’ – that can weigh up to 30kg – during the dancing and leaping and looks through the Orangun’s large open mouth.
During the Epa processions the four main masks are worn in a particular order and are therefore easily recognised from the crests, carved out from the same piece, on the top of the helmet. ‘The master of the home’ (‘Oloko’) begins the performance, recognisable by a leopard that rides an antelope. He is followed by the rider warrior, king and hero ‘Jagun Jagun’, who – according to legend – defended the city of Efon Alaiye against an enemy attack in 1880, thus saving it.
The ‘Epa mask’ presented here depicts this rider hero ‘Jagun Jagun’. After the rider warrior ‘Jagun Jagun’, the figure of a healer (‘Olosanyin’) comes next in the Epa procession. The ‘powerful mother’ (‘Eyelase’), a large female figure surrounded by her children, always closes the procession.
The present ‘Epa crest mask’ has a large, two-faced head of Janus as helmet. The rider warrior on his horse ‘Jagun Jagun’ sits on top of the helmet on a round plate carved out from the same piece. The warrior wears a large, wide-brimmed, black hat that is decorated with diamond shapes in relief. His face and goatee are surrounded by a wide – originally white and blue-coloured – hat band. In each hand he holds a black and white coloured rod (or a spear?). Both staffs are held underneath by small, male secondary figures. The head of the horse is adorned with decoration and the long reins hang from the above down to the horse’s nostrils. Next to each of the horse’s flanks stands a small female figure. The breasts of the figure that stands on the right have broken off (an old breakage). Both women are carrying objects in their hands. A drummer sits behind the rider, facing away from the horse, and beats his ‘talking drum’ (called ‘Dundun’) that is tucked under his left arm. This is a very impressive old object made of light-coloured wood. It has been painted red (by means of powdered redwood), white (kaolin) and black (soot) and is partly decorated with blue spots. Over time it has been painted over multiple times. It has a few small, breakages and cracks due to age, as well as an old, partly shiny patina on the outside as well as on the inside. Height: 84 cm; width: c. 30 cm; weight: 12.14 kg. First half of the 20th century. (ME)

Provenance:
Dutch private collection; currently: German private collection.

Lit.:
'Yoruba. Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought' by H. J. Drewal & J. Pemberton III., ill. 225; 'Yoruba. Sculpture of West Africa' by William Fagg & John Pemberton III., p. 188/189, ill. 68.

Expert: Prof. Erwin Melchardt Prof. Erwin Melchardt
+43-1-515 60-465

erwin.melchardt@dorotheum.at

09.06.2016 - 17:00

Vyvolávací cena:
EUR 2.400,-

Yoruba, Nigeria: a large, old ‘Epa mask’, with a Janus-faced helmet below, a rider warrior (‘Jagun Jagun’) and 5 additional figures.


Every two years the Yoruba people, or more precisely the Ekiti and Igbomina subgroups in the north-east of the Yoruba settlement area, celebrate the ‘Epa mask festival’ that lasts for several days. Sacred ceremonies and large processions protect and strengthen the prosperity and fertility of the land and the community, as well as honouring the most important ancestors of the Yoruba people. During these Epa processions at least four of these typical masks are always worn. These four types of mask are always carved from one piece of wood. The large head of the god Orangun is always below as a hollow ‘helmet’. Orangun is the first deified Yoruba King. The masked dancer pulls the helmet over his head and wears this ‘Epa mask’ – that can weigh up to 30kg – during the dancing and leaping and looks through the Orangun’s large open mouth.
During the Epa processions the four main masks are worn in a particular order and are therefore easily recognised from the crests, carved out from the same piece, on the top of the helmet. ‘The master of the home’ (‘Oloko’) begins the performance, recognisable by a leopard that rides an antelope. He is followed by the rider warrior, king and hero ‘Jagun Jagun’, who – according to legend – defended the city of Efon Alaiye against an enemy attack in 1880, thus saving it.
The ‘Epa mask’ presented here depicts this rider hero ‘Jagun Jagun’. After the rider warrior ‘Jagun Jagun’, the figure of a healer (‘Olosanyin’) comes next in the Epa procession. The ‘powerful mother’ (‘Eyelase’), a large female figure surrounded by her children, always closes the procession.
The present ‘Epa crest mask’ has a large, two-faced head of Janus as helmet. The rider warrior on his horse ‘Jagun Jagun’ sits on top of the helmet on a round plate carved out from the same piece. The warrior wears a large, wide-brimmed, black hat that is decorated with diamond shapes in relief. His face and goatee are surrounded by a wide – originally white and blue-coloured – hat band. In each hand he holds a black and white coloured rod (or a spear?). Both staffs are held underneath by small, male secondary figures. The head of the horse is adorned with decoration and the long reins hang from the above down to the horse’s nostrils. Next to each of the horse’s flanks stands a small female figure. The breasts of the figure that stands on the right have broken off (an old breakage). Both women are carrying objects in their hands. A drummer sits behind the rider, facing away from the horse, and beats his ‘talking drum’ (called ‘Dundun’) that is tucked under his left arm. This is a very impressive old object made of light-coloured wood. It has been painted red (by means of powdered redwood), white (kaolin) and black (soot) and is partly decorated with blue spots. Over time it has been painted over multiple times. It has a few small, breakages and cracks due to age, as well as an old, partly shiny patina on the outside as well as on the inside. Height: 84 cm; width: c. 30 cm; weight: 12.14 kg. First half of the 20th century. (ME)

Provenance:
Dutch private collection; currently: German private collection.

Lit.:
'Yoruba. Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought' by H. J. Drewal & J. Pemberton III., ill. 225; 'Yoruba. Sculpture of West Africa' by William Fagg & John Pemberton III., p. 188/189, ill. 68.

Expert: Prof. Erwin Melchardt Prof. Erwin Melchardt
+43-1-515 60-465

erwin.melchardt@dorotheum.at


Horká linka kupujících Po-Pá: 9.00 - 18.00
kundendienst@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 200
Aukce: Stammeskunst / Tribal-Art; Afrika
Datum: 09.06.2016 - 17:00
Místo konání aukce: Wien | Palais Dorotheum
Prohlídka: 04.06. - 09.06.2016