Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

egungun mask
  • unknown Oyo maker
  • egungun mask, late 1950s
  • Where object was made: South Oyo ?, Nigeria
  • cloth, wood, paint, leather, metal, yarn, cowrie shells, velvet, staining, carving, weaving, dyeing, embroidering, embossing
  • Object Height/Diameter: 188 x 51 cm height includes pants
    Object Height/Diameter: 74 x 20 1/16 in height includes pants
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Kenneth Palmer
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3167
Label Text

The carved wooden human-like head is attached to a full dance costume. The head is human-like with a projection at top center, two cylinders on the back and no hairstyle is indicated. It has very large white eyes with black pupils, three rows of three short red scars on each cheek and two white pointed teeth. The head is black. The tube-like velvet ruff is now grey with dark red cloth strips sewn at intervals.

The dance costume is made from a patchwork of many different patterned cloths. The portion immediately under the face of the mask is made from an open weave of yarn in dark blue and grey stripes, decorated with silvertone metal on the grey stripes. The circular tabs are each embossed with a heart and the teardrop shaped tabs are embossed with horizontal lines.

Either side of the woven panel is decorated with a vertical strip of embroidered fabric decorated with light green leather in circles and diamonds. The lateral side of each strip has a fringe of cowrie shells.

The area below the woven panel is a portion of a rug, the fringe at the bottom was once the short side of the rectangular rug. The rug is decorated with a scene: a man, wearing a turban and a wrap of some kind, leading a saddled horse in front of a row of light tan houses and a blue sky.

The costume has two legs, drawstrings at the ends, and a number of long flaps made from a variety of patterned cloths. Each flap is backed with a different fabric, and it has a third fabric trim at the seams.