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Object Name: Headdress (ere gelede)
Artist: Attributed to Labintan (Otta, Nigeria, d. ca. 1930)
Culture: Yoruba peoples
Place of Origin: Otta, Nigeria
Date/Era: Late 19th to 20th century
Dimensions: L: 31 cm
Medium/Materials: Wood, paint, laundry bluing
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.
Accession Number: X65.4742
Among Yoruba peoples of Nigeria and the Republic of Benin, women are thought to possess enormous reserves of power stemming from their unique ability to give birth. Communities stage lavish masquerades to appease women and show them reverence in hope that the power of “our mothers” will be directed toward community well-being. This mask was once worn in such a ceremony by a man impersonating a woman. Its serene and composed countenance is a hallmark of the Yoruba aesthetic.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.