African Tribal Art: Gelede Helmet Mask with Umbrella Top, Yoruba People, Nigeria. Carved wood and pigments, heavily patinated with libations, Late 19th Century/Early 20th Century. The mask rests on a custom-made steel display stand.
A snake coils around the back of the helmet head, which is surmounted by a figural group. The central large figure represents a man of importance, seated, with a smaller female figure holding a baby seated to his left. The surrounding three figures stand in attendance, two of them holding what appears to be swaddled infants. All of the figures bear impressive coiffures which buttress each other and support an enormous flower-like umbrella structure above them. The figures show facial scarification and have carved indications of bracelets.
Overall, the mask shows traces of multi-colored pigments which show through the heavy patination of libations.
38H x 16W x 16D (inches).
Private Collection, Massachusetts, Private Collection, New York
Aged condition with evidence of handling and use, including minor losses on the lower rim.
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