Excellent Gelede mask from Nigeria

aaaMystrySolvd-992Me:  Before I post this mask you recently acquired, could you tell me more about it?

Aaron:  I really don’t know much. I bought it at an auction. It’s the normal size, but it hasn’t been artificially aged. It looks to be 30 years old or so, although who knows. The maker used an oil-based paint, which is pretty unusual in tourist masks but not too uncommon in masks for tribal use, I think. That’s about all I know, other than the general information about the Gelede ceremony from two excellent books, Henry Drewal’s “Gelede: Art and Female Power Among the Yoruba” and Babatunde Lawal’s “The Gelede Spectacle”.

Me:  Gelede masks are still used by many of the Yoruba population for ceremonies in Nigeria. Yours is an authentic mask, probably made by one of the better tribal carvers. If I were a collector today, this is the kind of material I would be looking for.  A+

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