Hunting Masquerade Costume

This is the complete costume worn by the masked debul or devil of the Hunting Society. The hunting societies are thought to have originated among the 19th-century liberated Africans rescued from slave ships by the Royal Navy and brought to Freetown. Typically the masker wears a costume of sacking and netting that completely conceals his body, though this is often adapted to include other fabrics; in this case mock snake and leopard skin. This example has an alligator head, carved out of wood, and an assortment of snail shells, wooden spoons and combs, gourds, porcupine quills, and cowrie shells, hanging down his back (an assemblage embued with supernatural powers known as the ampa ). This is one a series of masquerade costumes commissioned by the British Museum's Africa Programme and gifted to the National Museum of Sierra Leone in April 2011 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sierra Leone's independence. It was made by Claudius John Fredick of Berwick Street, Freetown.

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Further Information

  • Type: Masks, headdresses, Costume, dress
  • Object: Hunting Masquerade Costume
  • Materials: Wood, Textile, Vegetable, organic fibre, Shell, Metal
  • Culture Group: Krio
  • Dimensions: Unknown
  • Production Date: 2011
  • Associated Places: Freetown (Place made)
  • Associated People: Claudius John Fredick (Creator)
  • Museum: Sierra Leone National Museum
  • Accession Number: SLNM.2011.003.05

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