So far, I would say that from what we have learned from the Yoruba is that they are far more spiritually. The Yoruba communities stage lavish masquerades to appease spirits. They have a very unique iconography just as any culture does. Some masks that they wear seem calming, serene like, such as the ere gelede.
This particular mask (ere gelede), made from wood, paint, laundry bluing is used to appease women. It was worn by men impersonating women to show them reverence in hope that the power of "our mothers" will be directed toward community well-being. All masquerades that we have looked at so far are almost always to appease the spirits in some way. The spirits of women have now become far more noticed and part of the community effort in keeping the balance. The fact that women can give birth is why women are held in such high regards as well. Not shown here but birds were often a reference to the mystical powers of women.
Next thing I would like to show you is a beaded panel that would be found as a type of sash, or sheath worn on someone who might be boasting for the sheer delight and admiration of others.
Made from cloth, felt, glass beads and cardboard, this beaded panel shows us many representations of symbols used by the Yoruba people. Each one has two yellow figures holding staffs with European style hats and two blue figures considered to be Yoruba hunters. Between these figures are backward-facing dogs (that represent hunting companions) and birds (the spiritual powers of women). A primary representation of power and protection is the rams' heads (Owo), found below those. We also see the symbol of the monkey. Once again this is a symbol for trickery. We have seen this in the Bwa culture as well. In the Yoruba culture there is a split though, with one being that the Owo-Yoruba hold them in high regards to courage and strength to protect ones home and the other being the Thundergod, Sango, of the Oyo. It is in the Ifa verses that one read about the trickery of the monkey.
We are always seeing new symbols and yet seemingly repeating the same ones with the same typical meaning only in a new clarity of the culture we are observing. The bottom photo clearly shows us that. The top photo shows us some more of the same familiarity with a bit more meaning to the spirituality that women have in the community. It is interesting to me to learn how these similarities and yet seemingly subtle differences take place in each culture of the same geographical location.