**Originally Listed At $250**
West Africa, Liberia or Sierra Leone, Mende people, ca. early to mid 20th C. CE. A large wooden mask characterized by thin slit eyes, a huge forehead, a petite nose, and lovely multi-lobed coiffure with a tall top-knot. This type of mask is used by a female society within the Mende culture on important occasions: handing down justice, attending funeral ceremonies, and going through initiation rites. During such initiation rites, the women who are already initiated, the Sande, wear these masks when they greet the newly-initiated as they return from three months' seclusion in the forest. In use, the masks have long costumes attached to cover the entirety of the body so that the identities of the women are not known. Often these masks combine male elements with female elements to show that the women have attained the same amount of knowledge as men. Size: 15" H (38.1 cm).
Provenance: ex-Nick Poolos collection, Adeon Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, USA acquired before 1970
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