This puppet figure would have been used by the Ekon Society to parody village life, even satirise prominent members of the community. History, traditions and social values have often been communicated through puppetry. Although in their past, the Ibibio would have used puppets in acts of divination and initiation rites.
Puppet plays are put on in communal village spaces so that anyone could watch. A variety of puppets were used to comment on social issues. This particular figure represents a colonial officer, possibly a forester.
Each figure is carved from a single block of wood, and has restricted moving parts, such as the arms. Members of the Ekon society are specially trained members who own and perform with such items. Their performance techniques are kept secret. However, they are able to display a conduct which was normally forbidden to individuals - by doing this (and with guidance from the ancestors), the Ekon puppeteers can act with a certain authority and set examples for a more appropriate behaviour.
The names of the donor and the carver are unknown.
This object is not on display.