TipsAdvanced Search
Helmet Mask

Helmet Mask

Helmet Mask

Helmet Mask

Date: early–mid-20th century
Medium: wood, pigment, fiber
Dimensions:
13 1/2 x 10 1/8 x 8 11/16 in. (34.3 x 25.7 x 22 cm)
Credit Line: Museum Shop Fund
Object Number: 67:1995
Place made:Western Africa and the Guinea Coast, Nigeria, Ogun state, Sawonjo
Classification: MASKS
Current Location: Not on view
Terms
Notes:Gelede masks such as this one are worn by male Yoruba dancers. Through their movements, gelede dancers, who always dance in pairs of male and female characters, express Yoruba ideals of male and female behavior. Gelede masks are worn at festivals honoring the women of the community—living and dead. These performances are particularly aimed at appeasing the powerful Great Mothers, including both the elderly women of the community and the ancestors of Yoruba society. The Great Mothers have the capacity for bringing either great fortune or great trouble to the community if not pleased. The gelede performances entertain and educate, and document elements of everyday life.
Provenance- 1977
Merton D. Simpson Gallery, New York, NY, USA

1977 -
Stuart Hollander, St. Louis, MO, purchased from Merton D. Simpson Gallery

- 1995
Alexander Gallery, Inc., St. Louis, MO, purchased from Stuart Hollander

1995-
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Alexander Gallery, Inc. [1]


Notes:
[1] An invoice dated June 12, 1995 from Alexander Gallery, Inc. to the Saint Louis Art Museum documents the purchase of this object, listed as "Yoruba 'Gelede' Mask, Nigeria, wood, brown patina, traces indigo." The invoice identifies this object was "ex. coll. Stuart Hollander, St. Louis / purchased: Merton D. Simpson Gallery NYC 1977" [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, June 19, 1995.
Exhibition History
Title: African Highlights (2008)
Date: July 2008 - October 2009
Venue: SLAM

Title: Masks: Faces of Culture
Date: October 9, 1999 - September 17, 2000
Venue: SLAM
Venue: The Field Museum
Venue: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Publication History
Title: African Art in American Collections
Year Published: 1988

Title: Saint Louis Art Museum: Handbook of the Collection
Year Published: 2004

Title: Masks: Faces of Culture
Year Published: 1999

Title: The Cover
Periodical Title: Journal of the American Medical Association
Edition: December 11
Year Published: 1996

In Collection(s)