Efe headdress

Yoruba peoples
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Republic of Benin


Overall: 27.5 x 32 x 33.5 cm (10 13/16 x 12 5/8 x 13 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood and pigment

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art



This headdress from the Ketu region, representing a male warrior, and similar masks performed during efe, the nighttime portion of gelede. The turban-style head wrap identifies the masker as Muslim. The artist has carved machetes (large heavy knives), at both sides of the headdress. A crescent moon arches over the forehead, alluding to nighttime hunts, when warriors seek out and expose forces-worldly and otherworldly, positive and negative-that affect the community.


1985, sold by a Mr. Omar, Cambridge, MA, to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart