late 1800s - early 1900s
Wood and paint
Overall: 62.9 cm (24 3/4 in.)
Gift of Katherine C. White 1969.5
This type of helmet used by the Oro association, is often mistaken for the more common Egungun. While Egungun masquerades are performed to honor an individual's ancestors, Oro masquerades are performed in conjunction with the actual funeral of a Yoruba person. The Oro association is very secretive, and the visibility of helmets like this one is generally restricted. Oro is also responsible for carrying out criminal sentences, such as collecting fines, repossessing goods, and executing those convicted of a capital crime. The female figure suspended from the back of the horns may reference the victims of Oro executions. This work has been attributed to the Esubiyi School of Abeokuta, founded about 1860.
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