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    Description

    Yoruba (Nigeria or Benin, Western Africa)
    Mask for Gelede association
    Wood
    Height: 13 inches

    Unlike many other masquerade associations, the Gelede accepts both male and female practitioners and is organized under a female elder. The ritual performances are dedicated to appeasing spiritually powerful women within the community and honors female ancestors. Elaborate cap masks would allow the male dancer to physically tower over members of the community. Masks would depict images of women, animals, and elements of modern life. This association is popular in southwestern Yorubaland.

    This mask would be worn with an elaborate cloth appliqué costume that would obscure the identity of the dancer. The delicate, pointed features, vertical scarification on the cheeks, and large oval eyes are all elements of the Yoruba canon. The hair is indicated by rows of braids topped by four openwork crests.

    The present example mask shows a great deal of usage wear. Originally it would have been brightly painted, but there is a complete loss of pigment. Some cracks can be seen along the bottom edge of the mask and the crest, and there is evidence of a repair to the proper right under the ear.


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
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    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    16th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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