Mende (active )
Sande Society Sowei Helmet MaskLate 20th century
State: Apparently not used in ritual
14.646 x 7.874 x 8.74 in. (37.2 x 20 x 22.2 cm)
Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 2016.14.10
Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Masks
Culture/Nationality: Mende, Sierra Leonean, West African, African
Collection: Jane Martin Collection
This object has the following keywords:
African*, carvings*, ceremonial masks*, helmet masks*, initiations*, masks*, Mende, rites of passage*, ritual objects*, secret societies*, Sierra Leonean*, tourism*, West African*, women*, wood*
- 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.
- 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.
- rites of passage - Ritual ceremonies performed to facilitate or mark a person's change of status upon any of several important social and personal occasions, such as the onset of puberty.
- 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.
- Sierra Leonean - Style and culture of the nation of Sierra Leone.
- tourism - The industry providing facilities and services to people traveling for recreation.
- 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.
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
- "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): AHDRC.eu. Record No.: 0177782.
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
- "ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA." (Accessed May 10, 2020): Imodara.com. https://www.imodara.com/discover/sierra-leone-mende-ndoli-jowei-sande-sowei-helmet-mask/.
- J. V. Olufemi Richards, "The Sande Mask." African Arts 7, no. 2 (Winter 1974): 48-51.
- Frederick Lamp, "Cosmos, Cosmetics, and the Spirit of Bondo." African Arts 18, no. 3 (May 1985): 28-43, 98-99.
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