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Currently shown

Dance Headdress

Location

NIGERIA, CROSS RIVER REGION

Culture

Ejagham

Title

Dance Headdress

Date

Before 1930

Materials

Wood, animal hide, vegetable fibre, pigments

Dimensions

45 x 18.5 x 25 cm

Credits

Purchase, inv. 1944.F.1

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Most often attributed to the Ejagham, this type of headdress, originally covered with antelope hide, was also used by the Ekpe society in the multi-ethnic city of Calabar. In the early nineteenth century, such headdresses were used during the funerals of members of that society, which was led by major slave traders, to remind the rest of the population of their power. The abolition of slavery and the increasing interference of the British seem to have later partly changed such headdresses into symbols of resistance. The gallerist Ernst Ascher lent this particular example to a 1930 exhibition at the Théâtre Pigalle in Paris in which works on loan from Picasso, André Derain and Tristan Tzara also appeared. In 1944, F. Cleveland Morgan bought it for the Museum from the Paris dealer E. Segredakis, when the latter fled the violence of the Second World War.

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