The Yoruba have a rich tradition of masquerades performed during funerals, holidays, and other events. Gelede masks, such as this one, are worn by male dancers at festivals honoring the women of the community, both living and dead, especially the powerful Great Mothers, the ancestors of Yoruba society. The gelede performances entertain and educate, and also document elements of everyday life. This brightly colored mask illustrates a type of elaborate head tie for which Yoruba women are famous.
Mask with large elaborate headtie painted in many layers of yellow, blue, red, green, brown, and black. Nostrils pierced for wearer to see through. Condition is fair. Paint raised and cracked.