Hunting is a revered profession among Yoruba men, as reflected in these two ere egungun olode headdresses depicting a hunter with a distinctive braided hairstyle. Egungun headdresses may manifest recently deceased spirits who have returned to the world of the living to see their families before journeying into the spirit world. Representations of thunder axes, a pressure drum, monkey heads, and vials for storing powerful substances adorn the head of the larger headdress, alluding to the abilities of ancestors to protect the families of hunters and particularly their children. The body of the performer wearing such a headdress would be covered in spectacular layers of colorful cloth that would whirl as he moved.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.