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Masked dancer during a Gelede performance, Meko, Nigeria, slide

Masked dancer during a Gelede performance, Meko, Nigeria, [slide]
Usage Conditions Apply
Elisofon, Eliot
Color slides
Physical Description
slide : col
Restrictions & Rights
Permission to reproduce images from Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. For information on photo services and research appointments, please visit or contact Archives staff at
Local number
E 2 YRB 19 EE 70
Yoruba (African people)
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.
Image indexed by negative number
"A typical Gelede performance has two phases, a night concert and an afternoon dance session. In the afternoon sessions, colorfully attired performers entertain the public with intricate dances. The headdresses are usually danced in pairs, jingling their metal anklets (aro) to rhyme with the drum beats. Although it performs in a variety of social and religious contexts, the ultimate goal of the Gelede performance is to promote peace and happiness on earth." [Lawal B., 2004: The World is Fragile... Life Should Not Be Lived with Force: a Yoruba Headdress (Igi Gelede Onijakadi), See the Music, Hear the Dance, Prestel]. "Gelede imagery evokes all aspects of Yoruba society. The masks refer to a wide variety of female and male roles and activities either in objects associated with such roles or in genre scenes depicting them. They also depict animals that serve as metaphors for human actions or as illustrations of popular proverbs and songs that accompany the mask's appearance." [Drewal H. J., Pemberton J., Rowland Abiodun, 1989: Yoruba. Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought, Harry N. Abrams Inc.]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon traveled to Africa from March 17, 1970 to July 17, 1970.
Repository Loc.
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African Art, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, 950 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20560-0708
Data Source
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
See more items in
Eliot Elisofon Field photographs 1942-1972
Usage conditions apply