Sowei Mask

This resembles a carved wooden helmet mask used by the exclusively female Sande (Mende) or Bondo/Bundu (Temne) societies. The mask is traditionally worn by a high-ranking member of the society, the dancing sowei , known as the ndoli jowei among the Mende or a-Nowo among the Temne. Worn with a raffia costume, the masks typically have a polished black finish, with neck rings, elaborate coiffure and dignified facial expression. The mask is thought to represent conceptions of idealised womanhood.

Related Videos

Further Information

  • Type: Masks, headdresses
  • Object: Sowei Mask
  • Materials: Wood
  • Culture Group: Mende, Sherbro
  • Dimensions: 40 cm x 21 cm x 28 cm
  • Production Date: Pre 1908
  • Associated Places: Sierra Leone: Sherbro District (Collected and created)
  • Associated People: Unknown
  • Museum: World Museum Liverpool Sierra Leone Collection
  • Accession Number: LIVCM.

Related Objects

Nigerian Mask

Masks, headdresses