Ex-english african art collection
African crest mask composed of a large helmet whose summit brings together, supported by a serpentiform base, anthropomorphic sculptures and bird figures. The latter are often intended for ritual sacrifices and related to the mythological repertoire. These scenes also refer to wisdom proverbs known to the Yoruba. The faces of the characters, with protruding eyes and deep incisions on the face, are characteristic of the Yoruba style. Polychrome shades are attenuated by the matt ritual coating, the object of which is covered. A peculiarity in African art, the Gelede cult entered the contemporary heritage, based on ancestral traditions: UNESCO inscribed it in the ICH (Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity) in 2008.
Concerning the ceremonies of the Gelede, Efe, practiced mainly in the western Yoruba kingdoms, the masks are built on the same principle: a face (mask-helmet type) and a scene that develops on the top of the mask. These are used in the context of masquerades dedicated to women in their maternal dimension, and more particularly to the "Supreme Mother" whose identity varies from city to city. These feasts are meant to remind women of their maternal responsibilities and encourage them to mobilize their talents in the service of society.
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