GELEDE CAP MASK
20th Century

Yoruba Peoples, Nigeria
Wood, and pigment, 13 x 8 in.
Extended Loan Bernald Family Collection
L2003.043.037

The gelede is a ceremony that seeks to placate the forces that can negatively affect fertility. Rather than attempting to scare away these "evils," the Yoruba honor them in elaborate ceremonies with masked dancers, referring to them as "the mothers." In this way it is believed that their harmful effects can be kept at bay. Gelede masks are very colorful and represent a wide variety of personnages both male and female, although the dancers are aways men. They are worn at the top of the head, just covering the forehead, hence the term "cap mask."



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