Photographs © Hamill Gallery
This costume has been vetted as authentic and old, with good evidence of age and use.
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.
This unusual costume with an animal head might have been held aloft since the mesh opening for the dancer to see out is much lower on the costume.
--from African Shapes of the Sacred: Yoruba Religious
Art by Carol Ann Lorenz, Senior Curator
Longyear Museum of Anthropology, Colgate University.