This mask relates by its function, symbolic meaning and worn by a woman. The Sowei mask is used for a girl’s initiation into womanhood within the Mende society. It is decorated with symbolic meanings like a high forehead for mind and knowledge, a bird on top of the head means woman's natural intuition, while scars decorate the face to show her new, harder life as a woman. Other symbolic meanings exist to show the movement to the life of a woman, which the girls have now been taught and trained. In Mende, the words "black" and "wet' are homonyms and the blackness of this mask identifies it as a river-dwelling spirit. The village’s woodcarver makes the Sowei mask of the Mende women from a section of a tree trunk, hollowing it out to cover the wearers face. This mask must be hidden in secret while it’s not worn.
 Vogel, Susan. African Aesthetic: The Carlo Monzino Collection. Venice: Abbazia di S.