Headdress for Efe Gelede

A work made of wood and pigment.

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  • A work made of wood and pigment.

Date:

Late 19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Yoruba
Anago region, Nigeria or Republic of Benin
Coastal West Africa

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

Artist

Yoruba

Title

Headdress for Efe Gelede

Origin

Nigeria

Date

1875–1925

Medium

Wood and pigment

Inscriptions

ink notation: "3372" label: "22"

Dimensions

36.8 x 25.3 x 20 cm (14 1/2 x 9 x 7 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior gift of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Weilgus

Reference Number

1988.22

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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