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Crest Mask (Nyamfaik)

Little is known about the traditional arts of the Koro and Jaba, neighboring peoples living in central Nigeria. Based on 1958 fieldwork when he acquired this crest, Africanist art historian Roy Sieber reported that it was carved by a Koro sculptor named Diga for use in a Jaba community and that its name means “guardian of Faik [a village].” He further noted that the crest appeared with other abstract headdresses biannually at dances associated with the agricultural cycle.

Koro and Jaba peoples, Nigeria
Crest Mask (Nyamfaik)
ca. 1943
Wood, pigment, seeds, fiber
H. 16 ½ in. (41.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Roy and Sophia Sieber, 77.81