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Gelede Mask

Arts of Africa

Gelede masks, such as this one, are worn by male Yoruba dancers at festivals honoring the women of the community, living and dead, especially the powerful Great Mothers, including both the elderly women of the community and the ancestors of Yoruba society. The gelede performances entertain and educate, and document elements of everyday life, such as the woman’s head tie in this example. Through their movements, gelede dancers express Yoruba ideals of male and female behavior.
MEDIUM Wood, pigment
  • Place Made: Nigeria
  • DATES late 19th or early 20th century
    DIMENSIONS 11 3/4 x 9 1/4 x 12 in. (29.8 x 23.5 x 30.5 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Mask with large elaborate headtie painted in many layers of yellow, blue, red, green, brown, and black. Nostrils pierced for wearer to see through. Condition is fair. Paint raised and cracked.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Yorùbá. Gelede Mask, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, pigment, 11 3/4 x 9 1/4 x 12 in. (29.8 x 23.5 x 30.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.227. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.227_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 22.227_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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