Yoruba Egungun Headdress

c. 1900
$2,280 USD
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W: 7.25" D: 9.25" H: 9.75"
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Attributed to the Yoruba people of western Nigeria, this wooden headdress was worn during a masquerade known as egungun. A widespread Yoruba ritual, egungun performances honor a community's ancestors during funerals and annual gatherings. Dressed to embody those ancestors, egungun masqueraders confront the questionable behaviors of community members and reinforce the moral standards of previous generations.

Surmounted by a crest-like hairstyle, this helmet mask has abstracted features, with closed eyes and subtle scarification on each cheek. The original darkened finish has aged considerably over a century of use, lending the mask a rich patina and beautifully worn texture.

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