Project Description

Mende Sande Society Mask (sowei)
Sierra Leone

This mask has an extremely elaborate and highly stylized coiffure that forms five almost vertical disk-like structures atop the head.

It also has horn-like structures along the left and right sides that might represent charms or amulets, known as sebe (sebbeh).

The hairstyle is a perfect blending of symmetry and showmanship, two aspects that are crucial to the success of this mask’s many duties.

All of the Sowei/Bundu Masks in this exhibition were collected and donated to our museum by Dr. Pascal J. Imperato and Eleanor M. Imperato.