Egungun Society Dancer

Part of Hall of African Peoples.

From the Yoruba people of Nigeria, in the Museum’s Hall of African Peoples, an ornate full-body costume used in the Egungun masquerade performance.

African masquerade performers enact legends and stories that recount history and express social values through music, dance, and drama. Masqueraders can also represent spirits who possess the dancers, giving them special knowledge.

The Yoruba people in Nigeria have many masquerade performances. One, called Egungun, was used as comic relief during solemn ceremonies.