Lot: 49

98th Auction

Anthropomorphic dance crest

Nigeria, Cross River, Boki

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Wil Hoogstraate (1917-2008), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Elisabeth Verhey, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Zemanek-Münster, Würzburg, 19 September 2009, Lot 221
Werner Zintl, Worms, Germany
H: 15.7 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, animal skin, tin plate, pigments, wickerwork, base

Leather-covered headdresses, such as this elegant depiction of a beautiful young woman with an elaborate hairstyle and white face, were made in the region along the Cross River in Nigeria and Cameroon.

They were the property of various societies, of which the "ngbe" - leopard secret society is probably the best known and mostly widespread association in the Cross River area. "Ngbe" was an all-male society that probably once originated from an association of warriors.

The crests were worn on important ceremonial occasions, such as initiations or funerals of important society members. With their base made of wickerwork, they were attached to the head of the wearer.

A head crest from the same workshop was auctioned on 28 November 2009 as lot 395 at Zemanek-Münster (cf. AHDRC 0090659). Another on 27 May 2017 as lot 291 (cf. AHDRC 0090971).