Ndoli Jowei Masquerade Costume

This is the complete costume worn by the dancing sowei , known as the ndoli jowei among the Mende or a-Nowo among the Temne. The mask is an original from the Sierra Leone National Museum collections (SLNM.1961.19.02), and is worn with a black costume consisting of black cotton under cloths, and black-dyed raffia cloak and skirts. The dancing sowei is associated with the exclusively female Sande or Bondo societies, found across Sierra Leone. Traditionally, she emerges during the period before and after initiation. This is one a series of masquerade costumes commissioned by the British Museum's Africa Programme and gifted to the National Museum of Sierra Leone in April 2011 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sierra Leone's independence. It was made by Joseph Michael Lahai of the Gbortima Cultural Group.

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Further Information

  • Type: Masks, headdresses, Costume, dress
  • Object: Ndoli Jowei Masquerade Costume
  • Materials: Wood, Textile, Vegetable, organic fibre
  • Culture Group: Mende, Temne
  • Dimensions: Unknown
  • Production Date: 2011
  • Associated Places: Bo (Place made)
  • Associated People: Joseph Michael Lahai (Creator)
  • Museum: Sierra Leone National Museum
  • Accession Number: SLNM.2011.003.04

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