This Egungun mask is principally a human head with animals’ ears and snake incorporated into the carving.
Like so many other types of Yoruba masquerade, masks and cloth play an important role in Egungun masquerades. There are two types of masks that can be used, a simple conical ‘ere’ and the more elaborate ‘alate’. Which mask is used depends on the nature of the ceremony, whether it is violent or gentle. This ‘ere’ mask has been painted in dull red, white, black and green with a metal repair to the front of the neck. It was originally lent to the Collection by John Danford in 1964.
Notes: John Danford spent the majority of his professional life working for the British Council in West Africa. He spent 11 years as the representative in Ibadan, Nigeria, his arts education providing him with the insight to encourage and develop the arts in Nigeria. For his achievements in this area he was awarded an OBE in 1953. He occupied three further posts in Trinidad, Manchester and Sierra Leone before illness forced him into retirement. In 1964 a large portion of his West African arts collection was loaned to the University of Birmingham before being purchased in 1975, forming the nucleus of the Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts.
Artist: Egba (Adujbolage family)
ID Number: BIRRC-D0018
Institution: Research and Cultural Collections
Named Collection: The Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Object Type: Mask
Materials: Painted wood
Measurements: 28 x 27 cm