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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Yoruba Cloth Egugun Robe
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Yoruba Cloth Egugun Robe - PF.4977
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 65" (165.1cm) high x 25" (63.5cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Textile

Additional Information: XX - SOLD

Location: United States
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The Yoruba believe that ancestors, Ara Orun (Beings from Beyond), have the power to cross over from the realm of the dead to the world of the living; and are capable of effecting the lives of living relatives, bringing them good fortune or bad. To demonstrate a family's respect towards their ancestors, masquerades are held involving maskers wearing fabulous costumes known as Egungun. Within the context of dance a different reality is created where ancestors disclose their presence and power, and the living display their status and filial piety as "owners" of the Egungun.

For us, the beauty of this impressive Egungun costume is as multifaceted as the folds in the dress itself. Layer upon layer of rich and colorful cloth hides the wearer's identity, while at the same time proclaiming his wealth. Such lavish costumes are kept in the family for many years and new layers are added at each annual or biennial festival. The intricate design is a highly complex geometric statement of vivacious energy and movement, perfectly suited to the energetic movements of the dancer. This Egungun costume dramatically expresses the social harmony of the Yoruba, and the respect they offer both to the living and those living as spirits among them.
- (PF.4977)


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