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Mende Mask

Sierra Leone

Mask (Sowei). Mende Culture, Sierra Leone

 

This fine Mende ‘Sowei’ mask was worn exclusively by women. The mask represents an ideal of feminine beauty admired by the Mende: elaborate hairstyles, full forehead, small facial features and fleshy neck rolls. The gleaming wooden surface signifies healthy, glowing skin. 

 This mask features serene, downcast eyes, a finely pointed chin, and an impressive incised cross-hatched coiffure. An unusual feature of this mask is the detail of the coiffure and the inclusion of relief markings on the forehead.

 

Ex Private Collection, Europe

 Estimated Period: First Half of 20th Century (Pre-1950s’s)

MESBD00

  Reference

 Phillips, T. (1999) Africa: The Art of a Continent, p. 473

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£
3400
SIZE
H: 45 CM
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