This water spirit headdress is used in the masquerades of the Ekine men's society. The headdresses worn in such performances blend the features of humans and aquatic animals. Although they are worn with a cloth and palm costume that covers the entire body, the headdress is the key element that is conceived of as the seat of the masquerade spirit's "owner." They constitute a highly appreciated form of entertainment and invoke local water spirits for assistance and guidance. Skilled performers gain status in the community and are also the arbitrators of personal disputes.
Culture and Traditions
In Africa, the Yoruba are contiguous with the Yoruboid Itsekiri to the southeast in the northwest Niger Delta, Bariba to the northwest in Benin and Nigeria, and the Nupe to the north, and the Ebira to the northeast in central Nigeria. To the east are the Edo, Ẹsan, and Afemai groups in mid-western Nigeria.
Mr. & Mrs. Steve Primoff donated in the year 2003.
Date of Digitization
J. B . Coleman Library
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Prairie View A&M University, "YORUBA Culture Of Arts West African ethnic group that mainly inhabits parts of Nigeria, Benin and Togo that constitute Yorubaland - (Water Spirit Mask)" (2022). African Sculptures and Masks. 70.