Nigerian Cap Mask
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This wooden mask is hollow and made to set atop a dancer's head. The face has almond-shaped eyes with round holes cut through the middle; a wide, flattened nose, a closed mouth with full lips; almond-shaped scarification marks on the cheeks and forehead; and a carved line representing a beard extending from the hairline to the chin. A hat that extends upwards and back from the forehead is painted yellow with a narrow red band at the bottom. Dancers wear this type of mask (efe) in the annual ceremonies of the Gelede Society. Although both men and women can be members of the Society, only men dance in the masquerades. The mask sits on top of the head, leaving the dancer's face uncovered; a bulky and brightly colored costume was worn with this mask. The Yorubans maintain strong connections with spiritual powers that connect them to their ancestors and provide continuity from generation to generation. The annual Gelede Society ceremony is one of the rituals that reinforce that link. Elderly women, known as "the mothers", are respected for their spiritual powers that can benefit or ruin the community. Gelede dancers appease the potentially dangerous powers of the mothers by paying tribute to them, encouraging them to foster the well-being of the community, and by ensuring human fertility and abundant crops. African Folk Tales; African Novel Study 16 History; 18 Social Systems; 25-27 Fine Arts
|Yoruba (African people) Social life and customs, Gelede (Yoruba rite)|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University Library|
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