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Yoruba Body Mask Female Torso Costume Nigeria African Art

Regular Price: $1,200.00

Special Price: $550.00

Product #: 76654
US Shipping: $45.98
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Title Yoruba Body Mask Female Torso Costume Nigeria African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Yoruba
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age second half 20th century
Dimensions 20" H. x 12" W.
Overall Condition good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair wear, shallow cracks, chips, scratches, stains on cotton cloth


Additional Description: A woderful body mask with  a female torso and a stylized face. The torso comes with short legs; It shows a huge belly and firm breasts;  Both the torso and the face are painted in green . The mask is complemented with the  costume made out of cotton fabric. This body mask comes from the Yoruba. The most common version of such body masks are used by the Yoruba to entertain the audience during Gelede annual festivals. They are known as the most satirical type of Gelede masks.This is an interesting body mask showing signs of long use .  This is your chance to get a complete body mask with face and costume !


Among the Yoruba Gelede masquerade is organized every year to celebrate the ‘mothers’ good witches who propitiate and control the power of the ‘bad’ witches who fly at night causing human misfortune, illness, and death. When Gelede appear, they dance in pairs in a tightly structured and complexly choreographed dance accompanied by singing and drumming. Most ‘witch-catching’ Gelede masks are carved from a single piece of wood to be worn on the top of the head over the forehead with a multi-colored costume made up of numerous panels of brightly colored cloth completely covering the body from head to foot. Body masks such as this are rare. They appear in exceptional circumstances. The panels of cloth will flare outwards while being danced giving the dancer a dynamic appearance. Gelede performances may extend over a number of days with different dance forms and movements. When performing the masks dance as a coordinated pair often with mirror-like movements during in an athletic and vigorous dance that often interacts with the audience. Their energetic dance steps will often kick up the dust so that they appear to float above the earth and the anklet bells that they wear reinforce the rhythm of the music. The difference between male and female masks is emphasized by the kind of costume the young man dancer is wearing and by the rhythm of his dance.The exaggerate breasts reflect the idea of fertility promoted during the Gelede festivals.


Recommended Reading: YORUBA NINE CENTURIES OF AFRICAN ART AND THOUGHT by Drewal et al, YORUBA AN ART OF LIFE by Mato and Cooksey


I have examined this piece and agree with the description


Niangi Batulukisi, Ph.D.