Passports – Case IV

This case gives us an opportunity to compare masks from a number of West African cultures. On these two pedestals, from top to bottom, are passports from the Makonde, Agni, Lwalwa (carved from a nut), Grebo, unidentified culture, Kpelle, and Bidjogo. The Makonde and Agni (the latter is actually a miniature plaquette) are very rare terra cotta passports.



This is a sowei mask of the Bundu spirit, which protects women and girls. The full-sized Bundu mask is unique in the cultures of Africa because it is worn by females of the Mende, Vai, Bassa, Gola and Sherbro people.


The miniature stone passport on the left is from the Toma. The extremely elongated mask with built up surface is a masterpiece (in my opinion).


This terra cotta Dan/Guere mask is unique – at least I have never seen another one.