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Temne Headdress Mask for the Ordehlay (Ode-Lay) or Jollay Society, Sierra Leone #897
- Temne Headdress Mask for the Ordehlay (Ode-Lay) or Jollay Society, Sierra Leone #897
- The Temne, who are related to the Baga, live in small Chiefdoms within Sierra Leone. Villages are socially regulated by Secret Societies such as the male Poro Society and the Female Bondo Association.
- A Kotu (masquerade builder) created this mask for a Temne Cultural Society, a kind of Mutual Aid Association. These masquerades emerged from Yorùbá practices transplanted from Nigeria to Sierra Leone during World War I. Cultural (or Masquerade) Societies and the Villages they support pride themselves on innovation. Masquerade Society masks have evolved to reflect new, international influences. The mask’s face shape and “fancy” aesthetic suggest it was created for entertainment. The Female Goddess aspect likely alludes to the transcultural Water Spirit Mami Wata. Though Mami Wata's origins probably pre-date European contact, Her "snake-charmer" persona draws heavily from a 1955 Indian lithographic reproduction of German posters of 19th Century Samoan Circus Performer Maladamatjaute.