The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Yoruba Gelede Masquerade

by Henry J. Drewal
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Bénin; Yoruba artist
Ige Gelede (Gelede headdress), nineteenth century
Wood, pigment
L. 27 cm (11")
University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, The Stanley Collection of African Art, X1986.341

The head, or more specifically the ori inu ("inner, spiritual head") is, for Yorubas, the site of the essence or destiny of a person. Thus an embellished and beautified head connotes an auspicious life of peace and good fortune.