African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Mende Mask

Mende Bundu Sowei hem mask (N° 14703) Deposit sale

In African tribal art, sowei are an idealized representation of female beauty seen through The Mende culture.They embody aquatic minds. This cephalomorphic mask forms a copy of the type of masks named bundu the most important in Mendé. The face has a high bulging forehead forming the upper half. The features are concentrated closely in the lower part, which is engulfed in a neck where the folds symbolizing prosperity evoke an abundance of flesh.
At the top, a sculpture of a woman whose hairstyle, gathered in a thick braid, wraps around the head of the mask until it ends on the posterior part in a mermaid tail. Painted black or tinted with a leaf brush, the mask was then rubbed with palm oil. Desication crack.
Mende, Vaï and Gola cultures, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the west coast of Guinea, are known in African art for the hexagonal masks and in particular those of the women's initiation society Sandé which prepares young girls for the marriage. The male society is the Poro company. Relatively rare in sub-Saharan Africa, these masks are made by men and worn by women.
To close the rituals, a "esprit" appears, wearing this mask lined with long raffia fibers, and waving a whip in order to drive out malevolent spirits and sorcerers.

("L 'African artU'0022 Kerchache and "African masks from the Barbier-Mueller" et Al. Adam Biro collection)  

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OriginCollection Prodhomme
EthnyMende
CountrySierra Léone
Material(s)wood
Height cm39
Width21 cm
Weight1.60 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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