Simple Gelede mask from Nigeria

Q:   I have a hobby and find treasures so to speak for fun and have acquired a few masks. They are from an avid collector who passed away and I bought his items. Most were signed and I have kept my favorites. This particular mask is missing 3 rings from around the neck, but could it be an African womanhood initiation type mask?  Kathleen, 891

A:  Most of Kathleen’s masks are of high quality. I picked this one to share because it is from the Yoruba people, a very large ethnic group of  Nigeria as well as Benin in West Africa. She thought it might be a Bundu helmet mask used by girls entering womanhood in Sierra Leone further to the south. But it is a Gelede mask that is worn on the top of the head as part of a costume meant to appease witches and other evil spirits. It doesn’t need to have eyeholes. Geledes are usually well painted and often have additional decoration on top.  A-

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