SALE END DATE AND TIME
July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
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|Mende, Sierra Leone|
An excellent example of a Bundu mask in which a found material adds a dimension not present with simply wood-carved examples; the metal adds value in its indigenous context and could represent a mirror or other implement added to an elaborate Mende female hairstyle. There are many details which make this mask very appealing and signs of good age and use. Bundu masks were created to be worn by an adult woman in connection with the rites of the Bundu/Sande ceremonies. In preparation for marriage and motherhood, young girls starting puberty were separated from their families and brought to a compound to be taught the manners and customs they would need as adults. When the teacher appeared in public with or without her students, she wore a mask and body covering costume, which transformed her into the ultimate spirit of the Bundu/Sande society. As a result of the limited ability to see from inside the helmet, the dancer of the mask usually relied on assistants who acted as guides to guide movement and direction. A full raffia costume would cover the dancer’s body, which was stitched through the holes in the mask. Mende legend relates that once transformed by the spirit of the mask, the teacher/wearer of the mask could dive into deep water without being eaten by crocodiles, and emerge dry from the water draped in coral beads.
As a result of the limited ability to see from inside the helmet, the dancer of the mask usually relied on assistants who acted as guides to guide movement and direction. A full raffia costume would cover the dancer’s body, which was stitched through the holes in the mask. Mende legend relates that once transformed by the spirit of the mask, the teacher/wearer of the mask could dive into deep water without being eaten by crocodiles, and emerge dry from the water draped in coral beads.
The elaborate hairstyle of this mask is based upon the sophisticated and inventive coiffures of Mende women of the Sande Society, pictured (above, ref: “Hair in African Art and Culture” Allridge).
|Lot ID: 113|
|Low Estimate: $1,500|
|High Estimate: $3,500|
|Next Bid: $750|
|Sale ID: 6|
|Sale Date: July 28, 2016|
|Sale Location: Virtual Auction|
|Sale Sponsor: African Artworks from Berz Gallery of African Art|
|Sale Terms: View here|
|Live Bidding Link: SALE CLOSED|
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: wood (one piece), black lacquer paint, metal, encrustation|
|Dimensions: 13" (33.02 cm) height x 8.5" (21.59 cm) width x 8" (20.32 cm) diameter|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Country - Sierra Leone|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Object Type - Mask|
|About the Mende Tribe and the Sande Society:In Mende villages, social order and structure are regulated through the Poro male and Sande female societies. Mende tribeswomen wear bundu masks to embody idealized female beauty and represent female ancestors. This is one of the only known instances in the African cultural diaspora in which women are the wearers of masks within a societal context, making the piece even more significant. The photograph of a Bundu mask being danced/worn in its indigenous context as is sourced from "African Art in the Cycle of Life", by Roy Sieber and Roslyn A. Walker. Further expertise: "African Art in the Cycle of Life", Roy Sieber and Roslyn A. Walker; “Hair in African Art and Culture” Allridge, Art of the Mende, Homme, "African Masks", Herzog, A History of Art in Africa, Visona, Tribal Arts of Africa, Bacquart; PHOTO SOURCE: Bundu Masks Photo from 1910 Ross Archive at Yale University, 1910. Alldridge, Thomas J. A Transformed Colony Sierra Leone as it Was, and as it Is. Its Progress, Peoples, Native Customs and Undeveloped Wealth|
|Provenance: Ex. Private Collection, US|
|Price:||Price on Request|
|Offered By:||CLOSED: African Artworks : 146 Lots : July 28-30|
|Contact:||The Curator's Eye|
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