Bundu mask 21Bundu mask 21Bundu mask 21Bundu mask 21

Bundu mask 21

Sowei masks are danced by members of the Sande women's society in Sierra Leone. All Mende girls join this society at puberty. Sowei appears in public during the time when young girls are initiated into adulthood. It may also emerge at the crowning of a paramount chief or during the funeral ceremonies of a paramount chief. Sowei masks share specific stylistic features. Carved in the form of a helmet, they depict a female head with an elaborate hairstyle and a ringed neck. An important part of the ritual of Sande masquerading is the custom of giving personal names to sowei to describe the personality or dancing style of its performer. Few names refer to the visual appearance of the mask. (Smithsonian)

Masks carved with crowns are associated with chiefly authority. This example is wearing a European-style crown and a state umbrella. European-style crowns are thought to have been inspired by the crowns given to paramount chiefs by Queen Victoria at the time of the establishment of the Protectorate in 1896.

- Joachim Bonnemaison, France
- Arts Premiers, Jean-Marc Delvaux, France
- Olivier Salandini, France

- Arts Premiers, Jean-Marc Delvaux, Drouot, Paris, France, 21 Octobre, 2008

- d’Azevedo, W. L., 1973, Mask, Makers and Myth in Western Liberia, Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Boone, S. A., 1986, Radiance from the Waters: Ideals of Feminine Beauty in Mende Art. New Haven and London: Yale University Press
- Phillips, R. B., 1995, Representing Woman: Sande Masquerades of the Mende of Sierra Leone. Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History
- Arts Premiers, Jean-Marc Delvaux, 21 October 2008, Paris