Link to Carlos Museum home page Link to Emory University home page Link to Carlos Museum calendarLink to Carlos Museum bookshop Link to Carlos Museum search  
Link to Carlos Museum information Link to Carlos Museum collections and exhibitions page Link to Carlos Museum's Odyssey Online

Efe/Gelede Headdress, Apasa Permanent Collection:
Sub-Saharan African Art:
Efe/Gelede Headdress, Apasa

Nigeria, Yoruba, Ohori. Late 19th - early 20th centuries A.D. Wood, pigment. 16 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 13 in. (42 x 26 x 33 cm). 1994.4.776

The masquerade performed by the Gelede society is an annual event in western Yorubaland. The Gelede festival honors older Yoruba women, who are equally referred to as "our mothers" (awon iya wa) and "witches" (aje). The double identity of these women epitomizes the Yoruba understanding of the complex dichotomies of the universe - both in the earth (aye) and in the otherworld (orun). These females can be either nurturing or destructive. The masquerade is designed to elicit nurturing and protection from "our mothers."

The Gelede masquerade consists of nighttime (Efe) and daytime (Gelede) performances, with different masks worn for each event. In the example here the masculinity of the Efe mask is represented in the flat, vertically striped, abstracted beard.

Collections & Exhibitions: | Ancient Egyptian and Nubian Art | Ancient Near Eastern Art | Art of the Ancient Americas | Asian Art | Greek and Roman Art | Works of Art on Paper

© Emory University
For more information please see our frequently asked questions.
Last Update: