Mende masquerader performing the satirical mask gongoli, Monrovia, Liberia. [slide]
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.
The photograph depicts Mende masquerader from the Liberian National Dance Troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Life magazine and traveled to Africa from August 18, 1959 to December 20, 1959.
Organization: Image indexed by negative number
Repository Loc.: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African Art, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, 950 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20560-0708
photographer: Elisofon, Eliot
Local number: E 2 MDE 1.5 EE 59
Local number: EEPA EECL 3855
Physical description: slide : col
See more items in: Eliot Elisofon Field photographs 1942-1972
Culture: Mende (African people)
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