Egungun ceremonial dance costume, ca. 1930–1970. Nigeria, Yoruba people, Oyo subgroup. Cotton, synthetic fibers, vinyl, and wood; commerically printed cloth, patchwork, appliqué, embroidery, looping (mask), applied glass mirrors, metal amulets, coins, and shell buttons. FAMSF, museum purchase, Volunteer Council Acquisition Fund, 1998.31
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Part of human culture for thousands of years, masks or their images appear in art of every kind. Humans comprise the only species that consciously changes identity by donning masks or costumes in rituals for communing with the worlds of the spirits, the gods, or the dead.