Masks of the World


Be careful of this guy



Q: I found this online with no information about were its from and or if its just art or an actual old mask. I hope you can help me out. I’m intrigued by this mask. Best regards. Laurence, 591

A: This looks like a Yoruba style mask from Nigeria, West Africa, but because it is just a black and white, small, low-res photo, it would be unwise to assume more. If it can be purchased for just a few dollars, go ahead and take a chance. Normally, when purchasing a mask on the internet, it is best to have large, sharp, color photos of the front, side and rear to study carefully. Hopefully these will help you decide. Well, not quite. A mask that is supposed to have been used in tribal ceremonies will usually turn out to be a reproduction. For authentic used pieces, you’re safest dealing with sellers you know and trust.

Categories:   Africa


  • Posted: December 8, 2013 20:37

    Beth Peart

    It is an Efe Gelede mask, a sort of Yoruba Gelede mask that is used only in night-time ritual and performance. They are all characterized by these upright 'ears' and usually by the 'collar' as well. All Gelede celebrations honour the contributions of senior women and are also used to defend against sorcery.