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Yoruba Helmet Mask Gelede Custom Stand Nigeria Africa

Regular Price: $2,200.00

Special Price: $690.00

Product #: 98080
US Shipping: $62.98
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Title Yoruba Helmet Mask Gelede Custom Stand Nigeria Africa
Type of Object Helmet mask
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Yoruba
Materials Wood, pigment, paint, encrustation, cotton cloth, vegetal fibers
Approximate Age Early to mid 20th century
Dimensions Mask: 17.5 inches tall x 11.5 inches wide x 12.5 inches deep. 27.5 inches tall on stand
Overall Condition fair. 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 large old crack in one side with indigenous repairs, shallow cracks and chips in places, encrustation flaking, old insect damage arrested, cloth with tears.

Additional Information:  This helmet mask made of hard wood is surmounted by two female figures holding a bowl and a snake in between the two females with its head on the bowl. The mask was painted several times and the patina is flaking in places. The face of the mask as well as hese of the two figures are carved according to  the Yoruba stylistic code.  There is no indication of the mouth, nose and eyes. The dancer sees through the hood made from cotton threads and attached to the mask with nails. This helmet mask with its parrot to the top is a significant holding in the arts of the Yoruba of Nigeria to a collection. This mask is in good condition with the cotton hood still attached; Otherwise the crack to the head.The Yoruba have produced a number of mask types serving major masking associations including the Gelede society. Various forms of animals carved on Gelede masks are known among the Yoruba serving as major symbols appearing during festivals. 

Gelede masks are danced by the Yoruba who live along the boundary between southwestern Nigeria and present day Benin (Dahomey). Though Gelede masks in the main portray humans, primarily women, there are a number that depict animals of various kinds . Among the Yoruba Gelede masks dance of the ‘mothers’, good witches who propitiate and control the power of the ‘bad’ witches who fly at night causing human misfortune, illness, and death. During other ceremonies when Gelede dance they can represent ideal virtues such as courage, royal actions or manliness. 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.

Recommended Reading: Drewal, H. J. and M. T., Gelede, Art and Female Power among the Yoruba. 1983.

I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.