Among the Mende and neighboring groups, the Sande society is responsible for educating girls as they become women. During coming-of-age ceremonies, masqueraders appear in wooden helmet masks and raffia costumes. Though carved by men, the masks are worn and danced by female Sande society members, a rarity in Africa, where masqueraders are customarily male. The mask’s form highlights Mende ideals of feminine beauty.
tags: fashion, ceremony, movement, function, identity, interdependence, ritual, pattern, community
Gift of the James G. Hanes Memorial Fund, 1973