About this artwork
The painted surface of this haunting mask suggests it was made for the nighttime performance (Efe) that precedes Gelede’s daytime spectacle. The light-colored paint would have made the mask easier to see in the dark. Efe lasts until dawn and includes a series of masked characters, culminating with the appearance of Efe, a grand figure who speaks with the authority of the Great Mother. The event uses songs, poetry, and satire to entertain Our Mothers—female elders, ancestors, and deities—and the community; underlying this, however, is the serious work of prayer and the invoking of spiritual forces, whose proximity is increased by the mystery of night.
Currently Off View
- Arts of Africa
- Headdress for Efe Gelede
- Wood and pigment
- ink notation: "3372" label: "22"
- 36.8 × 25.3 × 20 cm (14 1/2 × 9 × 7 7/8 in.)
- Through prior gift of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Weilgus