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1.So we divide the presentation and research into rough blocks: history of the Yoruba people, myth and significance of the Egungan mask ritual, comparisons of Yoruba culture then to the present day, and a final analysis and discussion of Egungans ritual as "performance art", the relevance of that term, and how our lens shapes our understanding of the Yoruba people.

2. The main idea we are attempting to communicate in our presentation is the significance and intimate connection of Egungan mask ritual to the daily life and spirituality of the Yoruba people. We will highlight how this art form holds a unique position among the Yoruba as a way to revere the ancestors through a rich performance of color, dance, and mask work. We will keep the audience from getting lost by attempting to create a narrative that is simple. We will start with an overview of the area of the world we are studying and the people who live there. Following that we will narrow our scope to Egungan ritual and how it operates (tying it in along the way with the yoruba lifestyle discussed initially). We will again follow this with the growth and the development of the Egungan mask ritual and look at what elements have remained constant, and which have changed (and why.). We then conclude with some good ol' historiography work (Why is/isn't this art? What lenses are at work here?). Additional things to keep people engaged: dynamic speaking, clear simple connections, and truly remarkable videos of Egungan mask ritual.

3. We believe the format we have original chosen will work fine. It provides a clear direct way of communicating our points. However, the challenges to keep the presentation from being stale and make it dynamic remain. We will have to work hard to overcome these traditional problems.

article. "traditional Yoruba Theatre"

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Egungun is traditional Yoruba theatre.
During the golden age of the Oyo Empire, the troupes travelled widely, entertaining princes and "caboceers" in all the principlalities of the empire annual Egungun festival.
Theatre survived in incursion from Christian missionaries.
Masques are the chant, the dance, and the drama. The chants is about praise of individual persons, settlements and totems, to sketches of village characters.
The dance has symbolic of very ritual or socially significant.
Masque performance is sum of four guilds (carver, costumier, drummer and balladeer). Mask is static and stereotyped illustration.
There are several categories of mask.
For mythological characters, it is about Yoruban orisa who is deities (the god of thunder and lightning). This character wears costume with a mask, which is painted in color of the deity.
For totemistic characters, this character wears carved mask, each distinguished by characteristic facial expression.
For human characters, it divides outstanding stranger and non-stranger in Yoruban society. Stranger's mask is present historical and tribal origins.
While non-stranger is a human, stranger is a caricature of humanity.
There are philosophical and religious aspects in Egungun. Both influence artistic expression, "holier than thous" attitude, which is trait of Yoruba. Stranger really hates about the behavior of violate social taboos and deviant behavior.
The Bata drum is the traditional orchestra in Yoruban. It usually played with four drums -mother drum leading during the performance.
Always women lead a songs and refrains.
There are no special sets for this performance. It is usually play in the market square, compound yard.
Yoruban theatre is lots of aesthetic aspects overall and quite realistic.

Adedeji, Joel. "Traditional Yoruba Theatre." African Arts Vol.3, No.1, Autumn, 1969: 60-63

Divide and Conquer

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1. Based on what you've read, what contextual information must your group necessarily communicate to the class in order to help us better understand the theatrical material you plan to discuss.

Yoruban history is based in oral tradition and myth. Its relevance to the people is portrayed through the ritual performances. However, these performances adapt to the changing of times in order to survive. The main elements of rituals are kept, but in order to maintain importance in the culture, they must adapt. Historiography in the sense become difficult. We must remember that the changes are not always noted. Thus we must look at what was kept in the tradition, and what was erased.

Ritual for the Yoruba is based in the theme of a journey. Drewal states, "The journey evokes the reflexive, progressive, transformative experience of ritual participation." The Egungun ritual is a performance ritual in honor of ancestral spirits. It forms a connection with the spiritual world to bring the surreal and unseen into reality.

2. How does your topic express the philosophies, ideologies, political circumstances, and/or social movements occurring in the specific time and place you are investigating?

There is a relationship between politics and ritual performance.

Time is a difficult focus for this topic. Because much of the history is based in oral tradition there is little factual consensus. Instead we are focusing on how and why the Egungun ritual has remained within the context of the Yoruba society.

The ritual portrays the importance of ancestral reverence and a cyclical connection between past, present, and future. It has survived due to its adaptability.

3. Given that you only have 20 minutes to present, what big ideas/contextual elements will you have to leave out?

Because we are focusing on one ritual, we will have to leave out other rituals that are inherent in daily life. In addition, because our topic is non-Western, we must spend adequate time expanding and shaping our Western lens.

Book on Yoruban Ritual...

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I should try and find this at the library...

Black Critics & Kings: The Hermeneutics of Power in Yoruba Society

by Andrew Apter

Video about Yoruban Masks

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Format of the Presentation

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We have opted to give our presentation in the form of a lecture accompanied by powerpoint. While it is not the most vivacious form of conveying information, it allows us an optimum amount of flexibility regarding time, and gives us more opportunity to be specific with our research.

We'll start with a brief overlook of time and place (pre-Oyo Empire, Yoruba's Golden Age), followed by a discussion of Yoruban culture, social and political events of the time, and a general history. The body of our discussion will focus on Egungan ritual (Masking Ritual), specifically it's strong links to Yoruban ancestry and spirituality. We'll close with an argument discussing how putting Yoruban mask ritual in the lens of "performance art" doesn't do justice to its intention.

Questions. Do the Yoruban consider this art?
How is the Yoruban definition of "art" different from our own?
Are there misconceptions among historiographers about what these rituals are about and what their significance is?

A solid article about Egungun Mask w/ "Igbomina Yoruba"

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This article seems to have some stuff that is interesting about Egungun Masks with Yoruba. I don't know what Igbomina is/means, but i'll get to figuring that out...

"From the point of view of the living, the deceased are obviously separated from, yet strangely and powerfully present in, human affairs."

"The mode of existence of the ancestors is a marginal one: they are always hovering on the edges of earthly life, communicating through dreams, and divination, and masquerades, but their world lies beyond it, like the world of the forest that borders upon the ordered life of the town and the field."

"Yet, because they are without the structures that shape human experience, the representations of their reality - of their presence among the living - is swathed and enshrouded in layer upon layer of cloth, bird plumage, bones of animals, and the skin of snake. Their appearance stands in the sharpest contrast of that of the living."

- The next paragraph goes on to talk about "representation" and "power" and how ancestors' power is "presented" through the masks, just as sculptures and carvings of monkeys and dogs are created to represent their power within the culture. The article keeps on using the word "marginal," calling dung heaps and trash piles to the Yoruba culture "marginal worlds."

-Is all of this "art"? Where's the line between ritual and art? They clearly have sculptures and carvings that serve as a similar function to the creation of masks, but to them, presentation seems to have more ties to cultural tradition as opposed to artistic expression.

-I'll do write this up for the ANNOTATED BIB

Narrow Your Scope

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1. What specific time period do you plan to research?

Pre-colonization, pre Oyo Empire (Golden Age)

We would like to do the era of Ife, or the Golden Age before the rise of the Oyo empire. We are having some difficulty finding information though, due to the fact that the majority of Yoruban history comes from oral tradition.

Oyo rose to power in 14th century, however still of minor importance until 1600.

2. What artist(s) and/or work(s) do you plan to focus on specifically?

Egungun ritual.It's a masking spectacle in honor of the spirits of ancestors. It's performed at funerals and in special festivals, which are put on by "secret cults". We could also look into their thoughts on life/death which form a cyclical reality, in that it's not so much death but returning "life beyond" where everyone comes from. This is also reminiscent of the theme of transition which is common in ritual performance

Yourban art is inherent within the social customs of the culture. Not only is it a spectacle of art, but a ritualistic representation of the society as a whole.

3. What social and/or political events are happening at the time you are investigating?

At Ife -- maize not introduced until 16th century.
Paved roads (12th-14th centuries).
Ife as the cradle of Yoruba culture -- declined with the rise of the Oyo empire
Archaeological evidence of sculptures (bronze and terra cotta), possibly in reference to ancestors. Possibly used in ceremonies of the dead.
ceremonies held about a year after death. Tropical climate requires a hasty burial
Art reached it's peak in 13th-14th century (terra cotta figurines flourished even longer)
In general, there is little known about the history of Ife.
Information is heavily dependant on oral tradition

Yoruba Bata
We can see their ritual performance via their traditional Bata.
They worship God of fire, lightning and thunder, Orisha.
So Bata dancer showing their spirits of thunder and power through dance.
'Shango' is the religions cult for 15th century Yoruban.
'Shango' is historical ancestor and represent their faith.
Bata drummer and dancer's performance is a ceremony to greeting their king with masquerade.
They are performed by traveling town to town and this troupes called 'Elegun Apidan.'
Through Elegun performance, it manifests their mythology and patriarchy society.

4. Briefly describe how you reached consensus on the scope of your group project.

We started our research by looking for a very specific topic to focus on, the Egungun ritual. Then we expanded from there to similar rituals, such as the Bata Dance, the history of the Yoruba, and relevant mythology. We settled on the Egungun ritual because it reflects Yoruban beliefs on life and death, as well as represents the reverence for ancestors. It is a ritual art form integral to the daily life and belief system of the Yoruban.

5. What materials did you consult to help you make your decision (you must cite these
sources using the correct MLA citation format and begin to create a bibliography that you will eventually annotate)

Drewal, Margaret. Yoruba Ritual : Performers, Play, Agency : African Systems of Thought. Indiana University Press, 1992. Web.

Smith, Robert. Kingdoms of the Yoruba. 3rd ed. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1988. Print.

Klein, Debra. Copyright 2007.

Some Info on Egungun

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Egungun masking spectacle:
• Honors spirits of ancestors
• Masks are physical representations of ancestral spirits
o Given epithets
• Performed during the play segments of funerals
• Annual/biennial festivals
• Performances reshape perceptions of the world and give concrete form to ontological concepts
• Ritual specialist bring that which is normally unseen into the phenomenal world where it can be observed and contemplated
• Performers possess ase, the power to bring things into existence

Drewal, Margaret. Yoruba Ritual : Performers, Play, Agency : African Systems of Thought. Indiana University Press, 1992. Web.

•To demonstrate that African art, specifically the example of Ijumu Northeastern - Yoruba Egungun, is a reliable form of historical and iconographical record of the African culture. Thus, African art is not just art; it also operates as visual texts.
• The history of African masking traditions cuts across the ages--from prehistoric through modern. Scanty evidence has been advanced to support most speculations about the age and the earliest forms of masking in Africa. However, as of now the ancient rock art in North Africa's Tassili N'Ajjah Mountains in the present Algeria, where images of hybrid creatures, masked humans, or "masked dancers"6 have been found, seems to be the earliest discovered examples. They have been dated to between 8,000-6,000 BCE

Famule, Olawole Francis. Art and Spirituality: The Ijumu Northeastern-Yoruba Egungun. Diss. University of Arizona, 2005. Print.

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