The Sande Society Helmet Mask

The Sande society is an all-female association that seeks to unite women in the communities as a strong social and political force by teaching them virtues through coming-of-age ceremonies.

Although most often affiliated with the Mende, these societies exist widely in the ethnic groups of Sierra Leone including in the Temne, the Kono, the Vai, and Bullom languages communities.


Their masks, whilst representing the traditional Mende beauty standard, are symbolic of the values the Sande society represents. For example: The full forehead (intelligence), large downcast eyes (modesty and wisdom) and shining dark complexion (cleanliness or prosperity).


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