helmet in the form of a man's head, with a small triangular face; hooked nose; openings under nose and at eyes; stylized ears; short, pointed black beard; high rectangular black eyebrows; looped, beehive-like headgear with five buckle-like elements in blue, black, white and red; beanie-like top of headgear with knob; rather bright polychromy

Gelede mask, mid 20th century

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Wood, pigmentexpand_more

Funds from an anonymous endowmentexpand_more  2011.30.1

The short beard, pointed nose, and wrapped turban decorated with amulets represent a Muslim cleric. For more than three centuries, Yoruba people have been in contact with Islam and many now practice the faith, occasionally incorporating it into local religious traditions. This mask, for instance, appeared in a performance called Gelede, which celebrates the power of women. The finely carved details and evidence of repainting suggest this was a highly respected—and well-used—mask.

Details
Title
Gelede mask
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2011.30.1
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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helmet in the form of a man's head, with a small triangular face; hooked nose; openings under nose and at eyes; stylized ears; short, pointed black beard; high rectangular black eyebrows; looped, beehive-like headgear with five buckle-like elements in blue, black, white and red; beanie-like top of headgear with knob; rather bright polychromy