Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

gelede mask
  • unknown Yoruba maker
  • gelede mask, early-mid 1900s
  • Where object was made: Nigeria
  • wood, pigment, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 34 x 32 x 32 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 13 3/8 x 12 5/8 x 12 5/8 in
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Kenneth Palmer
  • Not on display
  • 2007.2923

The wooden helmet mask depicts a head, flattened top to bottom, topped by a cage-like apparatus with a leopard and snake. The head is grey and the cheeks are each scarred with three vertical lines. The lips protrude, but there is no chin. The head piece has a flat, round base with four vertical knife sheaths at even intervals. Each sheath is decorated with a double helix for the majority of the length and vertical lines near the tip. A handle appears to be indicated at the top of each sheath with two rivets. A circular band touches each knife sheath and a snake arches over the top. A leopard sits within the cage created by the snake and knives, with his paws on the horizontal bar looking in the direction of the human face.