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Tribal art > African mask > Mende Mask

Bundu Mask - Sowei Mende (N° 18282)

In African art, sowei form an idealized representation of female beauty through Mende culture. They embody aquatic spirits. This cephalomorphic mask forms a copy of the type of masks named bundu the most important in the Mendes. The face has a high bulging forehead forming the top half, while the features, delicately chiseled, concentrate in the lower part. The face seems to be engulfed in a neck where the folds appear an abundance of flesh, a symbol of prosperity.
Peint in black or tinted with a brush of leaves, the mask was then rubbed with palm oil. Mate patina, grainy residual inlays, erosions, slight cracks of desication.br-The cultures Mende, Vaï and Gola, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the west coast of Guinea, are known in African art for the masks and especially those of the women's initiation society Sandé which prepares young girls for marriage. The male society is Poro. Relatively rare in sub-Saharan Africa, these masks are made by men and worn by women.
To close the rituals, a spirit appears, wearing this mask with long raffia fibers, and waving a whip in order to drive out malevolent spirits and sorcerers.

African art Kerchache and African masks from the Barbier-Mueller collection Adam Biro)  

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OriginCollection Prodhomme
EthnyMende
CountrySierra Léone
Material(s)wood
Height43
Width20
Weight1.10 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°

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