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

Mende mask (N° 22058) Deposit sale

In African art, sowei masks, a feminine ideal in Mende culture, embody aquatic spirits. This janiform mask forms an example of the most important type of mask called bundu among the Mendé. The face is concentrated in the lower part, while a high braided, mitre-like hairstyle rises. The face seems encased in a neck where the folds represent an abundance of flesh, a symbol of prosperity.
Painted black or tinted with a leaf wash, the mask was then rubbed with palm oil. Velvety matte patina, abrasions and desication> The Mende, Vai and Gola cultures of Sierra Leone, Liberia and the west coast of Guinea are known for the helmet masks of the female initiation society Sandé which prepares young girls for the marriage . The male society is the Poro society. Relatively rare in sub-Saharan Africa, these masks are made by men and worn by women.
To close the rituals, a "spirit" appears, wearing this mask lined with long fibers of raffia, and waving a whip in order to chase away malevolent spirits and sorcerers.

("African art" Kerchache and "African masks from the Barbier-Mueller collection" coll. Adam Biro)  

Watch the video


This item is sold with its certificate of authenticity

Estimated shipping cost

OriginCollection Prodhomme
CountrySierra Léone
Height cm40
Width16 cm
Weight1.20 Kg
Socle inclusOptional

You could also be interested by these items

You must login to access these options
   Warn me if a similar item is added to the catalog
   Warn me if the price decreases
Manage my alerts

You have question on this item ? contact us


Previously viewed items
African art - Mende mask
African art  - 

© 2024 - Digital Consult SPRL

Essentiel Galerie SPRL
73A Rue de Tournai - 7333 Tertre - Belgique
+32 (0)65.529.100
visa Master CardPaypal