3. N'ndomo Mask
4. Ere ibeji figure
The works in this exhibition represent the tangible expression of the deeply-rooted spiritual beliefs and ancient mythologies of the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. As varied as the 47 countries that comprise present sub-Saharan Africa with its clans, tribes, and kingdoms that have existed for millennia, what we call the arts of Africa collectively speak of a profound relationship to the family, the environment, and the cosmos.
Masks comprise the better part of the collection at the SDMA and represent a wide range of types. They were worn to endow the wearer with supernatural powers for the purposes of expressing complex ideas involving the forces of fertility and protection, or for initition rites, funerary rituals, civil or religious ceremonies, instruction, or story-telling. Others represented status.
Senofu Firespitter Mask, known as "kponyungo"  combines elements
of important totemic animals, such as the frightening warthog, buffalo
and, crocodile. Its intimidating aspect is believed to be effective in
warding off evil. Other masks, such as the Senofu "kpelie,"
 represent female perfection and fertility, although they are always
worn by men. They play an important role in initiation rites, as well
as in funerary rituals and harvest festivals. "Gelede" masks
have been used in rituals by the Yoruba-nago peoples, as well as by part
of the Fon and Mahi communities, at harvests fesivals and during critical
periods of epidemic or drought. The "n'domo" mask  is used
by the Bambara peoples in initiation rites involving the preparation of
boys for adulthood and the instruction on the origins of mankind. Each
vertical element in the upper part of the mask symbolizes the attainment
of a certain level in the n'domo society.
Demonstrations of status and prestige are important elements in Africal societies. The display basket  is decorated with cowrie shells, believed by many African peoples to represent wealth and the powers of the earth. Bodily adornments, such as the ivory bracelet , also reflect the wealth of their wearer.
Christianity has been practiced in Ethiopia since the 4th century AD.
Following Orthodox practice, religious icons based on Byzantine traditions
are common , but are distinguished by their presentation of distinctly
8. Cloth Icon