A unique “mahen yafe” head

25 October 2020

Farmers in southern and eastern Sierra Leone have discovered many ancient stone carvings buried in the ground, including pedestal heads similar to this one, with a sturdy columnar neck.

It is likely that these heads represent chiefs and sub-chiefs of ethnic groups that preceded the current Mende and Kono in the parts of the country where these objects were found.

Mahen Yafe head, Sierra Leone
Pedestal Head. Mahen yafe. Sierra Leone. Sapi. 15th-16th century (or earlier). Soapstone. L.: 24 cm. INV. 1002-1. Photo Studio Ferrazzini Bouchet. Musée Barbier-Mueller.