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Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou - A Sumptuous Masquerade

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Benin Egungun Project

Egungun Costume

Egungun is a part of the Yoruba pantheon of divinities. In the indigenous religious system of the West African tribe of that name, the spirit is of central importance. It is the eventual end of all living beings, and as such is regarded as the ancestral "collective".

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Egungun festival, Nigeria.

Yoruba Egungun Costume 1, Nigeria

YORUBA EGUNGUN COSTUME, Nigeria (The word Egungun refers to masking associated with honored male lineage ancestors. Egungun masquerades are performed throughout Yorubaland but the costune styles are extremely diverse as a result of both regional preferences and the fertile imagination of artists and patrons. Many Egungun costumes consist entirely of costly and extravagantly embellished cloth while others include carved headdresses.)Photographs © Tim Hamill

Africa | Egungun masquerade, at Odun Egungun festival. Ede, Nigeria. 1970. | ©Eliot Elisofon.