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Gongoli Face Mask

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unknown Mende
Mende (active ) Primary

Gongoli Face Mask

19th century - 20th century
Carved wood with raffia and textile

22 x 17 1/2 x 13 1/2 in. (55.88 x 44.45 x 34.29 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 99.3.43
Other Number(s): 4 (20) (Neufeld Collection Number)
20 (Sotheby's Lot Number)
Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Masks
Culture/Nationality: Gongoli, Mende, Sierra Leonean, West African, African
Collection: Neufeld Collection

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • African - Refers to the cultures of the continent of Africa, which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • carvings - Refers to works executed by cutting a figure or design out of a solid material such as stone or wood. It typically refers to works that are relatively small in size, are part of a larger work, or are not considered art. For large and medium-sized three-dimensional works of art, use the broader term "sculpture" or another appropriate term.
  • masks - Refers to coverings for all or part of the face, usually with openings for the eyes and sometimes the mouth. They are worn to hide or alter the identity of the wearer or for protection. Masks as cultural objects have been used throughout the world in all periods since the Stone Age. Masks are extremely varied in appearance, function, and fundamental meaning. They may be associated with ceremonies that have religious and social significance or are concerned with funerary customs, fertility rites, or curing sickness. They may be used on festive occasions or to portray characters in a dramatic performance and in re-enactments of mythological events. They may be used for warfare and as protective devices in certain sports. They are also employed as architectural ornaments.
  • Mende
  • Sierra Leonean - Style and culture of the nation of Sierra Leone.
  • West African - Styles and cultures from the region comprising the westernmost area of the African continent, defined by the United Nations as including the modern nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
  • wood - The principal tissue of trees and other plants that provides both strength and a means of conducting nutrients. Wood is one of the most versatile materials known.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 99.3.43_BMC_f.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.43_BMC_l.jpg

  • Owner Name: Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld, Class of 1953
    Role: Donor
    Place: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US
    Ownership End Date: 12/17/1997

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Important Tribal Art Sotheby's . New York, NY, 1989
    Figure Number: 20
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0113162.

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • "National Museum of African Art Online Database." (Accessed April 12, 2020): Smithsonian, Accession No.: 2016-4-10.
  • "Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco." (Accessed April 8, 2020): Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Accession No.: 1996.12.64.
  • "Sierra Leone Heritage Website." (Accessed May 4, 2020):
  • "Youtube Videos Online." (Accessed May 13, 2020):

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • William L. Hommel, Art of the Mende (Lancaster, Pennsylvania: University of Maryland, 1974), Figure Number: 56.
  • "Sierra Leone Heritage Website." (Accessed May 4, 2020):
  • "Youtube Videos Online." (Accessed May 13, 2020):
  • William C. Siegmann and Judith Perani. "Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia." African Arts 9, No. 3 (April 1976): 46-47.

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Gongoli Face Mask |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=6/8/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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