Art and Death in A Yoruba Community

by Norma Wolff
Professor Emerita, Iowa State University

Yoruba peoples, Nigeriaegungun erin. Photo by Norma Wolff.

One of the most admired gentle types of masqueraders in Itoko is the richly dressed Egungun Erin.  The entrance of an egungun erin into the streets of the town is quite dramatic.  The erin crest mask with diagnostic exaggerated ears makes the masquerader tower over the audience.  Erin or "elephant" refers to its size and importance.  This particular masquerade has come out many times in the past and is named egungun erin Ogunsijin after its deceased owner.  His brother now accompanies the masquerader.