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Inspired by - Benin

Gelede masks from Benin

Posted by rod - 13.09.2009

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One of the most important festivals in Benin is the Gelede, which honours female elders. Key to this festival is a dance with a costume that consists of a mask (aworan), headwrap (oja) and leg rattles (iku) which protect their wearer against aje. In this festival a mask is worn by men masquerading as women in order to please the mothers, particularly the destructive aje who otherwise might use witchcraft against them. It is seen to have developed in the late eighteenth century in the transition from matriarchal to patriarchal society. Text and pictures from craftunbound.net

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