Art and Death in A Yoruba Community

by Norma Wolff
Professor Emerita, Iowa State University

Yoruba peoples, Nigeriaegungun erin. Photo by Norma Wolff.

The erin type is known as "the rich man's egungun" because of the cost of the costume and the expenses in preparing it for its appearance in the festival.  The costume of the egungun erin is particularly elaborate with beaded panels attached to the front of the cloth and metallic mesh to hide the face of the performer.  Beads, normally used only by royalty, also cover the shere (rattle) and abebe (fan) to further heighten the sense of splendor.