Skip to Content

Home > Collections > African > Gelede Mask

< Previous

Gelede Mask

Unknown Tag: 'slide_title'
RTCFA No. NA 0005
Gelede Mask
Artist: Unknown
Wood, 13.75 x 7.5 x 10.5 in. (34.9 x 19 x 26.67 cm).

Region: West Africa
Group / Tribe: Yoruba

Description: Coe was always interested in the people who made and used the art he collected, as evidenced by the catalog entry he made for this piece: /*The Gelede, a men's association honoring the special powers of women, holds its principal festival at the time of planting. The women referred to as `our mothers' in the Gelede festival are considered to have powers that can be either creative or destructive.*/ Although most Yoruba are either Christian or Muslim, many traditional medicine and ceremonial practices continue uninterrupted. This is one of the formative pieces in the collection, and perhaps the second African piece Coe ever collected. He purchased it approximately in 1958 to 1959 from New York City dealer, J.J. Klejman. Coe remembered when he first visited the gallery as "being electrified by the zoo of ethnology [sic]" of the place as he called it. He gave this mask to his father, Ralph M. Coe to "spice up his last months of living."

Provenance: Purchased from J.J. Klejman, West 56th Street, New York. Gifted to Ralph M. Coe to spice up his last months of living. In 1959, I received from my father's estate. Also purchased from J.J. Klejman was a pair of Dahomey lions for my father, which upon his death were given in his memory to the Cleveland Museum of Art.