African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Gelede mask
Gelede Yoruba mask (N° 21602)
Gelede in African art. Gelede mask, monoxyletic sculpture featuring a head surmounted by a superstructure. The male figure, standing behind ladders, as well as the birds, form symbols illustrating recurring themes in the Yoruba religion. This religion, centered on the veneration of its gods, or orisà, is based on artistic sculptures with coded messages (aroko).
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In Nigeria, also in Benin, this African mask worn at the top of the head is used for the Gelede society's celebratory dances and at the funerals of its followers. These masks occur in pairs, each with a specific name.
Mottled matte patina, cracks and abrasions.
Gelede country in Nigeria pays homage to mothers, especially the older ones, whose powers are said to be comparable to those of the Yoruba gods, or orisa , and ancestors, osi and can be used for the benefit but also for the misfortune of society. In the latter case these women are named aje. Masked ceremonies, through performances using masks, costumes, and dances, are meant to exhort mothers to use their extraordinary qualities for a peacemaking and constructive purpose, for the good of society.
Ref: "Yoruba" J. Rivallain and F. A. Iroko, ed. Hazan.
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