TYPE: Mask
DIMENSIONS: Height: 15 ½ inches, excluding raffia (39.37 cm)
COMPONENTS: Deeply carved facial features, animal horns, braids, and a two-part crest at top. Embellished with metal strips wrapped around horns and small ornamental pieces on the crest. A large amount of raffia is attached around perimeter.
CONDITION: In good condition, the whole has a matte, dusted patina from a shrine context, a large piece missing from under chin, crack and erosion down proper left side of head.
NOTES: Provenance:
Property from the Collection of Dr. Richard and Jan Baum, Los Angeles, CA
Jeremiah Cole, Liberia/United States
ITEM ID: 5564
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A Mende or Bassa Helmet Mask

DATE
Century: 20th (1901-2000)
Notes: First half of the 20th century

A Mende or Bassa helmet mask.

The traditional religion of the Bassa people has a moral and ethical foundation which reveres ancestors and supernatural spirits. The Sande/Bondo helmet masks, worn by a society official during special ceremonies, represent the idealized beauty of a female primordial ancestor spirit, believed to reside in bodies of water.