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Parent Record
No. 5
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Publication: 1901. Alldridge, Thomas J. The Sherbro and Its Hinterland.

Original language: English

Caption: Bundu Devil with attendant Digbas

Text: "After leaving the Bundu bush the girl if she likes can attain distinction in the higher degrees of Bunduism, of which there are three grades:- Digba, the lowest or first degree, Normeh, the Bundu Devil or second degree, and Soweh, the head woman, the third degree. the Bundu devil is in the second degree of the medicine. If the girl wishes, she can simply become a Digba; she then has the great privilege of holding the mat before the devil at any function. She must not assume too much familiarity; she must remain medicinally at a respectful distance, the mat being between her and the devil." (p. 141-2)
Illustration technique: b/w field photograph

Publication page: facing 142

Publication plate/figure: plate (fig. 48)

Keywords:
• Sierra Leone (Country, region, place)
• clothing (Materials and techniques)
• raffia (Materials and techniques)
• wood (Materials and techniques)
• villagers (Notable features)
• attendants (Notable features)
• costume (Notable features)
• masquerader (Notable features)
• Sande society (Notable features)
• sowei (Object name, type)
• helmet mask (Object name, type)
• Mende (Style, culture group)

Collections:
• The original photo is in the Bern History Museum. (Other collections)

Comments:
Susan Kart, (12/1/2005): Author's description of Bundu rituals continues to p. 143.

Fred Lamp, (5/19/2006):

This is apparently Mende, as the text on it refers to the "Mendi." The description of the three levels of "Bundu" (Bondo or more properly Sande for the Mende) parallels the structure described in recent publications on the Mende, and differs somewhat from structure described for the Southern Bullom in the early 20th century. His use of the term "Bundu," however, suggests the Southern Bullom. Here Alldridge calls the masked dancer "Normeh," a name that is seen in no other literature. I have suggested this is a typographical error in the printing and that the original may be "Norweh," which would correspond to the name given in several other sources (Lamp 1985). This needs to be investigated in Alldridge's original manuscripts and papers (are these at Brighton?). If I am wrong, then someone needs to given explanation of this word.



Fred Lamp, (5/19/2006): The original photo is in the Bern History Museum.

Jim Ross, (6/30/2011):

This photograph appears from the Fred Lamp files on the Yale van Rijn website, 0114315~01.



Jim Ross, (11/1/2012):

This image appears in Bundu. Sowei Headpieces of the Sande Society of West Africa. The Imperato Family Collection by Gavin H. Imperato and Pascal James Imperato (2012) 29, fig 9 with the following caption: "An ndoli jowei accompanied by Sande Society officials (ligbeisia),one of whom is holding a mat used to periodically camouflage the masked dancer, Sierra Leone (Thomas J. Alldridge, 1901, opposite page 142).



Jim Ross, (6/14/2015):
This image appears in Die Kunst Schwarzafrikas. Kunst und Gesellschaft. Werke aus der Sammlung des Völkerkundemuseums der Universität Zürich by Miklos Szalay (1994) 36, fig. 3 with the following caption: "Nöwo (sande-Schutzgeist) mit Absolventen (und Funktionären?) der Buschschule, Sherbro/Mende, 1891."
 

Jim Ross, (8/30/2015): This image appears on the website of the British Museum as follows:

photographic print

Museum number: Af,B84.21
Description: Full: Front

Sierra Leone, portrait of large group of Mende [?] adult females standing outdoors. Adult wearing masquerade costume standing at centre. Fringed costume with wooden mask, holding bunch of grass or stick [?] in each hand. Other females wearing patterned cloths around lower bodies, some wearing head-cloths. Trees and thatched-roof buildings in background. Medium: Albumen print. Format: One of two prints mounted on same card.



© The Trustees of the British Museum