Ekpeye (In today's Rivers state) had a rich mask making and art culture in the olden days. However, in the early 1900, Sir A. A Whitehouse "stole" more than 20 water-spirit hairdresses from the Ekpeye people. These looted masks are now in England today. Many are in the Liverpool Museum.
Hunt (1972) wrote, regarding the collection of Ekpeye mask thus:
"Thus, in 1903 Mr A. A. Whitehouse, Eastern Divisional Commissioner of South Nigeria, presented almost fifty masks and figures of the western Ijo which he had taken during a punitive expedition around Wilberforce Island in the Akassa branch of the Niger. Two years later he also collected and gave to the museum more than twenty water-spirit headdresses of the Ekkpahia, an Ibo sub-tribe"
These are two of the few masks left or carved after 1903-5.
1. EZIGBO (IGBO KING), ALTHOUGH DISPLAYING THE HAIRSTYLE OF AN IKWERRE IGBO WOMAN FOR OWU CARVED BY UGBOJIJO OF UBETA
2. AKWEREKWA (PANGOLIN) FOR EGBUKERE. CARVED BY JAMES ISHIEKA OF OGBO