By Christopher D. Roy
University of Iowa

Nigeria; Ibibio peoples

Idiok Ekpo (mask)


H. 24.2 cm (9.5")

University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, The Stanley Collection, X1986.470

Art may also represent the authority of councils of community elders who hold the same power to rule that is held by kings elsewhere.  Among such peoples as the Ibibio who live in south-eastern Nigeria, political power was in the hands of a secret society called Ekpo to which senior men of the community belonged.  Decisions about the welfare of the community were made by these men and their orders were communicated to the village by other members who wore masks.