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Janus-Faced Sande Society Sowei Helmet Mask

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unknown Sherbro (Mande)
Sherbro (Mande) Primary

Janus-Faced Sande Society Sowei Helmet Mask

Likely 1960's - 1970's
Carved wood

15.157 x 10.039 x 11.417 in. (38.5 x 25.5 x 29 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 2016.14.18
Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Masks
Culture/Nationality: Sherbro-Bullom, Sierra Leonean, West African, African
Collection: Jane Martin 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.
  • ceremonial masks - Refers to masks created for or used in ceremonies or rituals.
  • helmet masks - Masks that enclose the head entirely or in part, especially those worn during African ceremonies and masquerades.
  • initiations - Ceremonies formally admitting someone into a community, organization, or other group, or investing them with a particular role or status.
  • Janus-faced - Used for objects, typically masks or figures, with two faces positioned front-to-back or side-to-side.
  • ritual objects - Objects used for a particular ritual activity, often as part of a ceremony.
  • secret societies - Any of various societies, the members of which are sworn to keep the rules, activities, and purposes secret from nonmembers.
  • Sherbro
  • 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.
  • women - Refers to female human beings from young adulthood through old age.
  • 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 2016.14.18_BMC_f_2.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_r_2.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_b.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_b_2.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_f.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_pl.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_pl_2.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_pr.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_pr_2.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_r.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_t.jpg
Additional Image 2016.14.18_BMC_t_2.jpg

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0177731.

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Frederick Lamp, "Cosmos, Cosmetics, and the Spirit of Bondo." African Arts 18, no. 3 (May 1985): 28-43, 98-99.
  • Eckart Von Sydow, "The Image of Janus in African Sculpture." African Arts 5, no. 1 (January 1932): 14-27.

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=Janus-Faced Sande Society Sowei Helmet Mask |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=3/22/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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