Today the Egungun masqueraders fulfill multiple functions in addition to being guides to the afterworld, performing the ceremony of cleansing the community prior to the rainy season, or delighting crowds with acrobatics and magical displays. But back a century ago, and more, the photographer would have been a white man, an anthropologist or missionary set out to document ‘the primitive, superstitious practices’ of people still back in ‘the childhood of Mankind’.

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