Face mask (elu)

20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Nigeria


Overall: 23 x 14.5 x 9 cm (9 1/16 x 5 11/16 x 3 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

wood, paint, cord for hinges

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art



The Idoma, along with the Edo (Okpella), and Igala, occupy the hilly grasslands north of the Niger River delta. Elu masks, such as this one, can be found amongst a number of social groups that occupy the area near the delta. Danced by junior members of all-male secret societies, these masks are used during funerary celebrations or annual festivals. Many elu masks, including this one, have hinged jaws.


Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart