Mende Society Mask, wood and raffia, Mende Tribe, Sierra Leone, Africa, XIX c. Msmt.s of helmet only. *Med.Raffia ?- Poss. Human Hair!

Sande mask, second quarter of 20th century

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A mask sometimes embodies ideals of physical and moral beauty or goodness. Here, the high forehead, downcast eyes, and elaborate coiffure suggest the pinnacle of female attractiveness among the Mende people. One of the very few types of masks worn by women in Africa, it accompanied young girls who had undergone initiation into the Sande association that prepared them for adulthood. The dyed raffia attached to the mask was part of a larger costume that would have entirely covered the dancer.

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Mende, Sierra Leone, Sande Society Mask (#443)
Details
Title
Sande mask
Role
Artist
Accession Number
72.69.1
Curator Approved

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Mende Society Mask, wood and raffia, Mende Tribe, Sierra Leone, Africa, XIX c. Msmt.s of helmet only. *Med.Raffia ?- Poss. Human Hair!