Mende Gonde Masks

MendeGonde.jpg

The Sande Society is the woman society, which is responsible for the preparation of young women for their adult responsibilities. Unlike most women's societies, Sande uses masks in their rituals. This helmet mask is called Gonde and acts as comic relief by exaggerating the actions of the Sowie mask in the Sande Society ceremonies. Gonde masks look like Sowei masks but are either carved without the symmetrical balance or they are old and damaged masks. This one has snake forms that relate to the river, from which the first masks were given to the women. It also has cowrie shell forms relating to wealth and fertility. The relief of the horn on the side relates to power.