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Polychrome Egungun Headdress, Yoruba People, Oyo, Nigeria circa 1940

About

Polychrome Egungun Oyo headdress (ere egungun olode), Yoruba, Oyo State, Nigeria, circa 1930-1940, maybe earlier. The headdress is elaborately carved from one piece of wood and colored with pigments. While the style of carving varies widely according to geographical region, several characteristics have remained constant, thus making Yoruba figures easy recognize. These features include a heavy head with an intricate coiffure, bulbous eyes with pupils indicated, full lips and nose and bright colors. The numbers are the inventory numbers from Penn State University and Lehigh University. A copy of the exhibition catalogue from Lafayette College will be provided to the buyer. Among the Yoruba of southern Nigeria Egungun rites are connected with the honoring of ancestors. Many Yoruba believe that during the masquerades held in honor of the dead the spirit of a deceased person enters the body of a masked dancer. Once within the dancer, the spirit comforts the living and reveals its will to them. Exhibited: The Pennsylvania State University - Museum of Art permanent collection; The Lehigh University - Art Galleries permanent collection, The Lafayette College - Williams Art Center - 'Plainly Geometric - Selections of Art from West Africa", 1987 Published: Lafayette College - Exhibition catalogue 'Plainly Geometric - Selections of Art from West Africa", 1987 Provenance: The collection of Dr and Mrs John E. Swanson. Dr John Swanson and his wife Marian lived from 1966 - 1981 in Lagos, Nigeria where Dr Swanson was the Advisor to the National Universities Commission and later on the Chief Planning Officer of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. During their time in Africa the Swansons started to collect African art. In 1973 a part of their collection, circa 120 pieces went on loan to The Pennsylvania State University Museum of Art, where the remained until 1978. In 1981 Dr Swanson passed away and his wife Marian never returned to Africa. In 1982 Mrs Swanson lent 130 pieces to the Lehigh University Art Gallery where they remained until 1987. A few pieces were also lent to Lafayette College - Williams Art Center for an exhibition titled "Plainly Geometric - Selections of Art from West Africa". In 2018 Mrs Swanson passed away.

Details

  • Of the Period
  • Place of origin
  • Date of manufacture
    circa 1940s
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions

    H 12.75 in. x W 11 in. x D 8 in.

    H 32.39 cm x W 27.94 cm x D 20.32 cm

  • Seller location
    Westport, CT
  • Reference number
    LU1451210685411

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