Helmet mask, for the womens society, carved with elaborate headdress of three tall crests, with circular finials atop, rosette attached to front, and relief leafy pattern on the sides. Face is carved with open slits, scarification on cheeks, and relief ears on sides. One finial atop coiffure lost. Deep black patina with some traces of red deposits on hair, smooth worn patina on interior.
As a representation of the guardian spirit of Sande -- a powerful pan-ethnic women's association responsible for education and moral development -- the work alludes to an idealized female beauty. Worn at performances to celebrate the completion of the young initiates' training period, these masks are finely carved to convey admired feminine features: an elaborate coiffure, a smooth broad forehead, narrowly slit eyes, a small composed mouth, and a sensuously ringed neck (Metropolitan Museum).
- Private New York collection, acquired in 1970s
- Robert Taylor, Jurgens Gallery, NYC
- Arte Primitivo, Howard S. Rose Gallery, New York, USA
- 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