Female Ancestral Mask (Ndoli Jowi/Nòwo) Artist: Sogande family workshop (Mende, active late19th to mid-20th century)

mid-20th century

African Art

On view, 1st floor, African Art

This style of mask is the only known type to be commissioned and danced by women in Africa. It is used by the powerful Sande association, into which all Mende women are initiated. Sande influences the lives of women and acts on their behalf within society, and helmet masks such as these were worn by leaders of the association during the initiation of girls into adulthood. They appear at educational sessions during initiation and at ceremonies of the final “coming out,” in which the initiate would be presented to her people.




14 1/8 × 9 × 10 in. (35.88 × 22.86 × 25.4 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Loriann St. Jarre in loving memory of Lenny Kata

Accession Number



20th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Leonard Kata (uncle of the donor). Gift of Loriann St. Jarre, Berlin, Conn., to Yale University Art Gallery, 2013
  • "Acquisitions 2014," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin: Online Supplement (accessed December 1, 2014), 4
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

ceremonial objects, masks (costume)



Technical metadata and APIs


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