Female Helmet Mask (Ndoli Jowei)

A work made of wood.

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  • A work made of wood.

Date:

Early/mid-20th century

Artist:

Sherbro or Mende
Sierra Leone
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

Until Sierra Leone was affected by a brutal civil war lasting from 1991 to 2002, helmet masks like the one displayed here were governed by the Sande association. Common among the related Sherbro and Mende peoples, this all-female group held important religious, political, and educational responsibilities. Masks with elaborate hairstyles, exemplifying local ideals of beauty, were performed by senior Sande officials at funerals, for visits of important guests, and during the initiation of young women into the association. This is one of the rare instances in Africa when women danced with sculpted masks.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Artist

Sherbro

Title

Female Helmet Mask (Ndoli Jowei)

Origin

Sierra Leone

Date

1900–1950

Medium

Wood

Dimensions

48.3 × 24.8 × 26.7 cm (19 × 9 3/4 × 10 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior acquisitions of the George F. Harding Collection, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert R. Molner, and the Ada Turnbull Hertle Endowment

Reference Number

1997.361

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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