Ekpe is a secret society whose beliefs were based on the invocation of the leopard spirit.
This costume was used for an initiation dance on masquerade of the Efik people. Dancers have to inform royal personages in Efik kingdom to convince their wards and to attend church on Sundays.
Ekpe is the mimetic portrayal of how a leopard moves.
Over a full-body suit of crocheted rope, a colorful cloud of naturally dyed raffia hangs around the body.The wearer carriers a bunch of “healing leaves” and stuff to connote authority.The feather above the eyes represents mystic vision. The feather at the back of the head symbolizes the ability to fly.
Photo: Kristy Kharlashkina