Africa

Masks from Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is one of the smallest countries in Africa and yet it has a large impact on curators and collectors of masks. The Mende and Temne people who live their are strong in art and culture, especially with masquerade. They are the two largest ethnic groups.

Two of the photos you see here are Jolies used for parades, especially in the capitol of Freetown by the popular Ode-Lay Society. They can be very elaborate, but others are much simpler and less expensive.

The black helmet-style mask is worn by girls passing into adulthood at a Sande Society ceremony. The mask is called a Bundu. To the best of my knowledge, it is the only mask in Africa worn by women. They are still used for this unique rite of passage and easy to find on the market. The Bundues always have those rolls of fat on the neck. Bob, 1725

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