Dance Mask
Mende, Sierra Leone
Early 20th Century
Previous Collection: William Siegmann, Former curator of African Arts at the Brooklyn Museum

Masks in Africa that are seen by woman are rare; masks that are worn by women are even more rare. The Bundu mask is among the only type in Africa to be worn exclusively by women. This helmet mask is a beautiful example of the Sande society’s carving tradition. The shape is almost suggestive of a western bullet; with its strong taper and vertical lines on the top of the mask. The facial features are gorgeous; as well as the outlined facial plain; from the profile this mask is reminiscent of the flat Angolan Lwena masks. The patina is exceptional, rich and deep from decades of use and traditional oil applications. The native repair on the back suggests how important this mask was to the owner; many are broken and discarded but examples of great beauty. Speaking of great beauty the horizontal lines on the back of the mask represent fat rolls, the true sign of a woman’s beauty to the Sande society.
This mask stands 14.5 inches tall.
11-3-11 / Price on Request