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

Mende mask (N° 22903)

This African Mende mask forms one of the less widespread versions of the mask called bundu embodying an ancestor. The thick rings at the base symbolize an abundance of flesh and prosperity. The protrusions at the top are embellished with aluminum sheets. This mask, sculpted by men, was however used by women during initiation ceremonies. Painted black or stained with a leaf wash, the mask was then rubbed with palm oil. Grainy patina. Native restoration.
The Mende, Vaï and Gola cultures of Sierra Leone, Liberia and the west coast of Guinea are known in African art for helmet masks and more particularly those of the female initiation society Sandé< /i> which prepares young girls for marriage. The male society is the Poro society. To close the rituals, a "spirit" appears, wearing this mask lined with long fibers of raffia, 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)

 

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OriginEx-collection française
EthnyMende
CountryGuinée
Material(s)wood, osier
Height cm53
Width27 cm
Weight3.10 Kg
Socle inclusOptional

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