Reintegration / Ancestors

By Monica Demott
(formerly University of Iowa)

Nigeria; Yoruba peoples

Egun Elure or Egun Ida (dance crest)

Wood, cloth, coins, metal, pigment

H. 47.0 cm (18 ½”)

University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, The Stanley Collection, X1986.240

In the dance crest pictured here, amulets are suspended to form a veil which enhances the performer's power.  The performer's voice gathers ashe as his words pass through the packets of medicine.  Families add new layers of cloth, and, on occasion, commission entirely new costumes, to honor their ancestors, petition their blessings, and to display their filial piety.  Through the richness and splendor of its cloths, an egungun ensemble conveys the wealth, prestige, and devotion of a family lineage.


Benin; Yoruba peoples. Egungun Masquerade. Video by Dana Rush.