Egúngún headress (erin type)

A massive, baroque, and busy wood-carved headdress with stylized face (showing classic Yoruba features) of bulging eyes with defined upper lids, long, straight, triangular nose, symmetrical scarification patterns consisting of three horizontal lines on each cheek, a short beard from ear to ear just underneath the lower lip. Two large “ears” protrude on either side of head and act as “scaffolding” for numerous attachments of symbolic content: birds and lions predominate, but also visible are amulets, wooden claws and beads, crosses, and an insignia shield of some kind. The ears terminate in two oblong mirrors with lions leaping off of each. Layers of pigment are visible, giving impression it has been repainted over time.
Adugbologe Workshop of Abeokuta, Yoruba Peoples Nigeria
c. 1960
Egúngún--meaning “power concealed”--is a masquerade performed to honor the sprits of important Yoruba ancestors. This marvelous headdress is worn with a voluminous costume made from layers of brightly colored cloth strips that billow and flare with the whirling rotations of the dancer, the spirit manifest. Distinguished by its large ears, it is called erin, or elephant, named for both the grandeur of its costume and the wealth of its owner.
Gift of the Edward H. Eliscu Family
Wednesday, December 1, 2021