Karikpo (Crop Fertility Mask)

Takpo Takporo (Antelope Mask)

By: Adenike Cosgrove Tagged:

Sculpture is central to the culture and traditions of the Ogoni, a people native to Rivers State, Nigeria. While the themes and styles of sculpture differ between regions, most fall into one of seven categories:

  1. Small masks with jaws and teeth
  2. Large grotesque masks representing evil spirits
  3. Small masks representing ‘friendly’ animals like deer or goats
  4. Larger masks depicting fierce animals like crocodiles and leopards
  5. Human figures representing ancestors
  6. Ornate headdresses featuring marine animals
  7. Puppets with moving limbs and jaws

Masks are particularly symbolic to the Ogoni and are worn at important ceremonies like the one marking the beginning of the farming season. Here, performers put on a show to honour the founding ancestors and praise the local deity. Masks are also worn to celebrate Christmas, the dawning of a new year and in funeral ceremonies.

In this horned mask, representing the antelope, the Ogoni dance to the beat of the kere karikpo drum, making leaps forward and back.

Distinguishing Features

  • Small in size
  • Pair of backward curved horns from back of forehead
  • Rhombic or oval face
  • Pierced (often triangular or circular) or tubular eyes
  • Flat trapezoidal nose/nasal ridge
  • Tubular mouth

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