This page is a record of an exhibit that took place
in 1998. The individual links below will take you to
the CURRENT VERSION of the pages
that formed part of that exhibit.
African Costumes shows the colorful. textural traditional costumes of the Yoruba, Igbo and Mende peoples, focusing on many varied and elaborate Egungun costumes of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The Egungun association honored spirits of the ancestors and invoked their protection or aid. They were used at funerals and could transmit messages from ancestors to the living. The dancer could look out through the mesh and use rapid swirling movements to swing the cloth strips out horizontally. This round form with a tiny head on top indicates that the spirit depicted was almost too powerful to be depicted in human form.