Gelede headdress (ere Gelede)

MAKER:
Artist

Unknown

CULTURE:
Yoruba peoples
DATE:
Early 20th century
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General Description

Worn atop the head of a male dancer, this ere Gelede depicts a human face with barlike scarification filled with dark pigment. The arc of each ear is pierced and holds a cylindrical ornament, while rounded forms project from the earlobes. The mask was worn with a voluminous costume composed of layers of colorful cloths.

Gelede masquerades were, and still are, staged in Yoruba villages and towns to pay homage to women—especially elderly women—in order for the community to benefit from their special spiritual powers, which were believed to be equal to or greater than that of the gods and ancestors.

Excerpt from

  • Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.

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