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Masquerade Helmet Mask, Mende Culture, Sierra Leone

Regular price $2,250.00

Sande Society Helmet Masquerade Mask, Mende Culture, Sierra Leone. Carved wood with raffia attachments, Late 20th Century. The Mask has a custom-made steel display stand.

Sande sowei masquerades promote and represent the images of women in specific ritual and festive contexts.

The ceremonies of the Sande society are the only occasions in Africa in which women customarily wear masks. Wooden masks worn during these public ceremonies, such as funerals or the installations of chiefs, are called sowo (sing. sowei) and represent the society's guardian spirit. The irreducible elements of sowei are a helmet form, lustrous blackness, beautifully arranged hair, downcast eyes, a closed mouth and an expression of inner spiritual concentration. The features of the mask show the group's ideal of feminine beauty.

DIMENSIONS: 21.5H x 9"W x 10"D; 42"H on stand.

PROVENANCE: Private collection.

CONDITION: Good condition with new black raffia.