X96.3.7 Mask Ensemble

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Mask Ensemble
Yoruba peoples
Cloth, glass beads, cowrie shells, leather, synthetic leather, plant fiber, string, thread
H:173 cm, W: 52 cm, D: 43 cm (H: 68.1 in, W: 20.4 in, D: 16.9 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Museum Purchase. X96.3.7


Massive interlaces on beaded panels both front and back proclaim that past, present, and future are part of the infinite cycle of existence: birth, life, departure, return. They recall the whirling return of the past into the present, and simultaneously, the spiraling outward departure on new life journeys into the future. This ensemble embodies the adage of aye l’ajo, orun nile (life is a journey, the afterlife is home).

Source: Drewal, H., Mason, J. (1998). “Beads, Body, and Soul – Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 270