Gelede ventral mask - NAGO YORUBA - Benin

Gelede ventral mask - NAGO YORUBA - Benin
Middle of the 20th century - Well preserved polychromy - Private V. Briard collection, France

Provenance : private V. Briard collection, France
Dating : the 1950s-1960s.
Dimensions : 51 x 28 cm
Material : wood.

African masks depicting the belly of a pregnant woman are only worn by the Yoruba of Benin and of the bordering region of Nigeria. Besides the false belly, the transvestite dancer wears a facial feminine mask. It appears during the Gélédé annual festivities, which main purpose is to celebrate women’s fecundity. The relief represented by two snakes and frogs refers to a proverb evoking luck, since the frog will be saved by a passer-by. Well preserved polychromy.

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