This mask was carved in the style of the Mende tribe of Sierra Leone. Soweii masks, or Bundu masks, are meant to represent the ideal beauty. While most masks of this kind are typically just stained, this particular mask was painted with colorful pigments. The wooden mask measures 15 inches tall and 32 inches with raffia and weighs 4.5 pounds. There is some imperfections and wear and tear. Please inspect photos. This piece does not come with a stand but one can be purchased for an additional price. Please inquire.
Pigmented Mende Soweii Style Helmet Mask 15″ – Sierra Leone
|Type of Object||
|Country of Origin||
Wood, Pigment, Raffia
15" (wood only), 32" (with raffia)
|Weight (Pounds/ Ounces)||
Some cracking, scuffing and general wear and tear throughout.
About the Mende People
“The Mende Settled in Sierra Leone in the 16th century, having migrated from the north. Today, the 2,000,000 Mende live mostly from the rice and cocoa farming and are organized into different chiefdoms. Social order and structure are regulated through the Poro male and Sande female societies. During ceremonies associated with the latter, women wear Bundu masks which embody idealized female beauty and represent an ancestor of the society.
Other Mende societies are responsible for the protecting of their members from illness or curing them. Female figures are carved and revered for their healing properties and also serve as emblems for the society when they are formally displayed during processions. Stylistically, they can be resting on their abdomen and their typical head with an exaggerated coiffure.”
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.