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ID number:  BIRRC-D0258
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Title / Object name:  Helmet mask
Object type:  Mask
Place made:  Sierra Leone
Culture:  Mende
Materials:  Wood
Measurements:  40 x 26 cm
BIRRC-D0258.jpg

This mask has been carved with a ribbed collar and an elaborate hair arrangement in flattened loops. This type of mask is labelled as a 'Zogbe' mask for the 'Bundu' or 'Sande' women's society, an organisation paralleling the mens 'Poro' society and controlling the education of Mende girls. 'Zogbe' is the name given to this type of mask by the Gola people of Liberia and Sierra Leone. It was originally lent to the Danford Collection by John Danford in 1969.

John Danford spent the majority of his professional life working for the British Council in West Africa. He spent 11 years as the representative in Ibadan, Nigeria, his arts education providing him with the insight to encourage and develop the arts in Nigeria. For his achievements in this area he was awarded an OBE in 1953. He occupied three further posts in Trinidad, Manchester and Sierra Leone before illness forced him into retirement. In 1964 a large portion of his West African arts collection was loaned to the University of Birmingham before being purchased in 1975, forming the nucleus of the Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts.

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