The Bini are the ‘rural population’, as it were, of the well-known Kingdom of Benin. They live around the city of Benin in Southwest Nigeria, west of the Niger river. Their ‘rural’ culture has little to do with the court culture of the city-kingdom of Benin (with their world famous bronze heads, ivory works etc.). The culture, religion and the social life of the Bini people primarily revolves around their ‘Ekpo cult’, within which ritual ceremonies and mask dances are performed. The masks for these dances have their own style, which is noticeably different from that of their larger neighbours, the Yoruba.