Project Description

Cowrie (kyoyo) shell carvings crown the forehead of this mask and the hairstyle consists of incised geometric lines overall. The rounded form in the center of this mask’s hairstyle may represent sebe and/or sebbeh, the Mende term for charms or amulets. The four antelope horns likely symbolize “good medicine” called hale nyande or they may have been a sign of office as horns have a history as symbols of Mende chieftaincy and elder status.  

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.