Yoruba Gelede Mask with Colonial Era Figure, Nigeria #953

$ 3,850.00

  • Yoruba Gelede Mask with Colonial Era Figure, Nigeria #953
  • Wonderful Gelede Mask with traces of original matte polychrome. Depicts a clothed and helmeted Colonial Figure sitting in a folding chair; it is unclear whether the individual in the chair represents a European or a Yoruba Chieftain in European dress. The supporting head of the mask appears to be a Female Character, as she sports a headwrap that terminates in a bow at the back of her head. 
  • Materials: Wood, pigment
  • Measurements: 16″ height. Includes a Custom Made Base.
  • Provenance: From the Estate of Kenneth Lewis, Brooklyn, NY
  • This type of Mask might have been worn at Funeral Ceremonies and expresses humor and irony with a subliminal laugh that is alien to Western Christian Funerals.
  • Gelede Headdresses (not Masks as these sit ON the head and not across the face) are one of the few among the Yoruba People to celebrate Female Forces.
  • The Gelede is performed by the Yoruba-Nago Community spread over Benin, Nigeria and Togo. For more than a Century, this Ceremony has been performed to pay tribute to the Primordial Mother Iyà Nlà, and to the role Women play in the process of Social Organization and Development of Yoruba society.
  • Gelede is also a Festival of Masks performed in veneration of the Society's Powerful Older Women, the Iyami.
  • Egbado Yoruba Communities perform Gelede annually, at which time they formally recognize the Powers of the Iyami, and solicit their Benevolence to ensure the Prosperity of the Community.