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ID number:  BIRRC-D0016
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Artist / Maker:  Unknown
Title / Object name:  Janiform head-dress 'ere egungun'
Object type:  Mask
Place made:  Oyo, W. Nigeria
Culture:  Yoruba
Materials:  Wood, partially painted in white and black.
Measurements:  29 x 31 cm
BIRRC-D0016.jpg

Dance head-dress for the Egungun ancestor cult association.

This example is of the type called 'ere egungun olode', or 'master hunters'. Masks and elaborate costumes fully conceal the wearer during this type of masquerade which acts as a bridge between the dead and the living, honouring ancestors. The holes in the base and the patina suggest that it may have been used ritually. It was collected before 1957, and was originally lent to the Collection by John Danford.

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.

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