Egungun Dance Costume
Arts of Africa
This type of egungun costume is found throughout the Oyo region of southwestern Nigeria. It consists of a length of wood balanced on the head, from which panels of cloth are suspended. Its great rectangular form completely conceals the human body, transforming the costumed wearer into a returned ancestor.
Because the cloths composing the costume are of great value and prestige, they enhance the status of the families associated with the masks. The mask embodies the spirits of the ancestral dead, who reenter the community annually in swirling, whirling moments of high drama and spiritual significance.
Wood, cotton, wool, aluminum
est.: 55 x 6 x 63 in. (139.7 x 15.2 x 160 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of Sam Hilu
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact email@example.com
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Yoruba. Egungun Dance Costume, mid-20th century. Wood, cotton, wool, aluminum, est.: 55 x 6 x 63 in. (139.7 x 15.2 x 160 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Sam Hilu, 1998.125. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1998.125_PS9.jpg)
overall, 1998.125_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Dance costume composed of a wooden beam, which rests on top of the head, draped in several layers of varied cotton and wool textile panels. Comparatively newer, resist-dyed and factory made cloths are on the outer layer of textile panels, while indigo(?)-dyed panels are underneath. Textile panels are decorated with embossed and perforated aluminum geometric objects, sewed onto the surface.
Condition : good. Conservation backing has been sewn onto the back of the innermost layer of panels. Two longer panels are separate from the main assemblage.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.