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Culture Group:Yoruba peoplesTitle:Gelede Trunk Mask, Male Figure Date:20th century Medium:pigment and encrustation on wood Culture: Yoruba Dimensions:48 in. (121.9 cm) Credit Line:Gift of Irving Schwarz and David Colker Accession number:1978.46.1 Label Copy: This extremely rare torso mask was used in the Gelede celebration. The Gelede celebration is performed publicly in the market, the center of life in a Yoruba town. The market is the territory of women and the festival is consequently meant to appease them. The spectacle unfolds unpredictably as the performers interact with the people in attendance at the market. Gelede are always danced in pairs, emphasizing the theme of female and male as the sources of life. On the torso masks, the female coiffure and the male headdress are emphasized to accentuate gender differences and spiritual power within the head. The female holds her head tied around her shoulders, indicating that she is a priestess preparing to dance at the shrine of a deity. Female nudity is the ultimate act of honoring a god.

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