Artists & Designers

Manowulo (active c. 1935-1960)

Manowulo was a sculptor active from circa 1935 to 1960 in the Baoma chiefdom, north of Jaiama-Bongor and near the town of Bo in Central Mendeland. Many masks carved by Manowulo and his apprentices were still in use in the 1970s when the anthropologist Ruth B. Phillips conducted field research on Sande society masks among the Sewa-Mende. She attributes this helmet mask [2006.44] to Manowulo. The sculptor's trademark style features a wide diamond shape, the upper half of which is framed by an inverted V or U and the lower half by a sharply angled jawline. The jawline of some of his masks is delineated by a border of parallel grooves into which the small mouth is placed at the point of the chin. Manowulo carved the ears at the lateral points of the facial diamond and gave them a C-shaped ridge with a raised round dot at the center of the opening. The eyes are long horizontal slits, and the nose is a long form that is slightly flared at the nostrils. He typically carved fine details of braids or other designs on the head.

Adapted from

  • Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 130-133.