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Oro Efe Gelede Mask, Nigeria



The Gelede spectacle of the Yoruba is a public display by colorful masks which combines art and ritual dance to amuse, educate and inspire worship. Gelede celebrates “Mothers” (awon iya wa), a group that includes female ancestors and deities as well as the elderly women of the community, and the power and spiritual capacity these women have in society. However, this power may also be destructive and take the form of witchcraft; therefore, Gelede serves the function of appeasing this power, as well. Gelede costume and headdress. Gelede masks are worn with a costume consisting of layers of elaborate, colorful cloth. The Gelede "mask" is more accurately a headdress, since it rests on top of the head and the wearer's face is covered by a cloth veil. The headdress takes the form of a human head, on top of which are motifs that are intended to entertain onlookers but, in addition, usually address social concerns that may also be expressed in songs that are part of the masquerade. The headdresses are usually brightly painted. Individuals or families will usually go to any length to make their headdresses as attractive and humorous as possible. The endless variety of the motifs and their combinations makes it difficult to attempt to construct a typology of Gelede headdresses. Most of the headdresses have facial adornments, ranging from lineage marks to decorative tattoos, which are either incised or painted. Babatunde Lawal writes: "The headdress is to the costume what the head (ori) is to the human body. It is an index of identification and the essence of the masker's personality as long as he is inside the mask. In spite of the comical representations that often appear on the headdress, the face below the superstructure remains serene, as if stressing the Paradox that is life-and the need to live life with special care."


  • Dimensions
    Height: 21.66 in. (55 cm)Width: 16.93 in. (43 cm)Depth: 18.9 in. (48 cm)
  • Style
    Tribal (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
  • Seller Location
    Antwerp, BE
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU95047214773

Shipping & Returns

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    Free Front Door Shipping
    to anywhere in the world, arrives in 8-10 days.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Antwerp, Belgium
  • Return Policy

    This item cannot be returned.

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About the Seller
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Located in Antwerp, Belgium
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Established in 1988
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