Mahe Yafei

A stone figure, known as nomoli in Mende, carved out of steatite, or soapstone. The age of figures like this one is relatively unknown, however there is evidence to suggest that they predate Portuguese encounters with the coastal areas of Sierra Leone in the 15th and 16th century. They are thought to have originally represented chiefs or group leaders. More recently, however, such figures have been re-discovered and used as rice gods to encourage high yields. Many believe them to be naturally formed, rather than carved. Other names that have been used for figures such as this one are pompta or mahe yafei . Large heads, such as this one, are commonly referred to mahe yafei . This one is unusual as it is relatively large, and flat. The only examples resembling it in the collections on this website, can be found at the Sierra Leone National Museum

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Further Information

  • Type: Figures, sculpture
  • Object: Mahe Yafei
  • Materials: Stone
  • Culture Group: Other
  • Dimensions: Unknown
  • Production Date: Pre 1970
  • Associated Places: Freetown (Place purchased)
  • Associated People: Abass Kargbo, Freetown (Trader)
  • Museum: Sierra Leone National Museum
  • Accession Number: SLNM.1970.14.02

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