Africa

The always entertaining Gelede

aaaMystrySolvd-1016Q:  My father acquired this mask in the Philadelphia area over 20 years ago. We know that it is a Gelede mask. It is one of the favorites of the collection. We would love to get your opinion. Any info is appreciated.  Dan, 1016

A:  They’re made and still used by the large Yoruba culture of Western Nigeria and Benin. You never know what you will see on top of these entertaining helmet masks. The Gelede cult is concerned with the appeasement of witches. The masquerades are in honor of mother– whose power is especially manifested in elderly women, female ancestors, and the female god, Orisha. In this case, the little guy on top holds a rifle and a snake. Carving quality and condition are both on the low side.  B

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