The Collection at the BMA

The Collection

Mask/headdress composed of male face with beard and pierced eyes, topped by head-ware which includes sculpted drum resting on framework, held in place by sculpted fabric tie.

Headdress (Gelede)

Seated Ibis with painted wooden body; cast bronze legs and feet, head and neck.


White-faced helmet mask of woman's face and head, surmounted by child figure

Queen of Women Mask (eze nwanyi)

Society Emblem (drung mgbe), Ejagham people, Republic of Cameroon, and Nigeria, African, fiber, skulls, wood, horns, gourds, leather, and patina

Society Emblem (drung mgbe)

Broad oblong forged-iron blade with very slight concave curve terminates in a straight edge, which extends slightly beyond the oblong on either side (similar to silhouette of a bell); short, conical spike extends from straight edge of blade.

Currency Blade

  • Afo people, Nigeria, African
  • iron
Helmet mask with female face has glossy, black surface, elaborate plaited coiffure, band of horizontal marks on forehead, slitted eyes, bulging rings around neck, and black raffia fringe attached to base.

Helmet Mask (sowo)

Mask, Guro people, Côte d'Ivoire, African, wood and pigment


Standing male power figure with bent arms resting on distended abdomen; below abdomen, figure is unarticulated block, partially covered by animal skin and waist ornaments (large bell and metal jangles attached to cord). Animal horn emerges vertically from top of head. Face has slitted, bulbous eyes, broad nose, protruding and slightly upturned open mouth, square beard. Necklace of glass beads, animal teeth, seed pods hangs from neck onto abdomen. Umbilical area has opening where medicinal materials once existed.

Male Power Figure (nkishi)

Carved wooden chair. Animals and figures on back seat crest, stretchers, and front stiles. Brass nail heads form eyes on some animals and figures, also applied as decorative elements. The seat is skin/hide which still has some remaining hair. It has been stretched over the seat rail and tied with strips of gut or hide.

Chief’s Chair or Throne

Jar with cover, both covered entirely with clay "spikes."

Covered Vessel

Standing female figure with flexed knees, arms bent, resting on abdomen, wearing small cap, earrings, and with diamond-shaped mark on forehead. Nails and blades protruding from breasts and front of torso, and holes remaining where some nails removed; umbilical area has small animal skull covered over with organic material. Large nail protruding from back of figure, which is split along the spine, from neck to buttocks.

Female Power Figure with Nails (nkisi nkonde)