DescriptionMENDE, Liberia, Sierra Leone
"Sowei" Helmet Mask
Wood, pigments, fiber
This is a finely carved and decorated helmet mask representing the first female ancestor. It appears at the celebration following the successful conclusion of girls' initiation into the women's Bundu or Sande society. A respected female elder leader wears it. The fat-ringed neck denotes female health, wealth and beauty, while small features occupy the lower part of the face and a hairstyle composed of parallel ridges rises above.
Height: 16 ¼ inches
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