Masks In The Egun Mask Festival In Benin

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The Egun mask is a 20th - century piece carved from wood, and from the Yoruba culture located in southwestern Nigeria, as well as north-central and southern Benin. The Yoruba people use the Egun mask in the annual Egun Mask Festival (EMF) in Benin for celebratory purposes. In part of the EMF, the masks are used in ceremonial events, and anonymous dancers wear the masks and take the role of their ancestor. As you take a look at the Egun mask, the first feature you notice is the detailed hairstyle on the mask. Many Yoruba masks have hats or elongated hairstyles in an upright position, but not the Egun mask. The asymmetrical hairstyle is distinctive. This object’s hairstyle points stiffly to the right and is eye-catching due to the countless…show more content…
I focused on the mask’s hairstyle and facial features because as a viewer, those two features attracted me to the mask. I know when I view artifacts in museums I like to view the artifact then look at the text display for details about the piece I may have missed in addition to background information about the artifact. I attempted to be as detailed as possible with the hair design. As a viewer, a few questions popped into my head as I studied the hair: why is the hairstyle asymmetrical, how is the hair designed created, and was this hairstyle meant to be in a three-dimensional view. These questions allowed me to become as detailed as possible to help the viewer discover details they may have missed from their cursory glance. I had a hard time finding why the hairstyle was created to look stiff and asymmetrical, so I merely focused on describing the hairstyle in a three-hundred and sixty degrees…show more content…
Similarly to the hairstyle, I wanted the viewer to read about the detailed face of the mask just in case they may have missed it during a cursory glance. In addition, I wanted to inform the reader about the Yorubaland people to understand how important and intricate each detail is to the culture. As I studied the mask, the number three was a recurring number of tribal markings, so I found and included why this number three is important to the Yorubaland people. Thus informing the reader how sophisticated the mask’s details are. Interestingly enough, I found it important that the tribal markings also separated the Yorubaland people in many ways: identifying family members and beauty modification, which is new information for the average reader. Lastly, I believe it is important for the reader to understand that the tribal marking practice still occurs today to put in context that this mask to represents a functioning culture that still exists

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