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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Naming the Sowei mask

Unique to the region around Sierra Leone, sowei masks are worn by senior members of the all-female Sande Society during rite-of-passage ceremonies that signify a girl’s transition to adulthood. This display explores the cultural interaction that influenced the mask’s form and examines the ubiquity of sowei masks in museums around the world.

Before going on display, members of the Sierra Leonean community in London asked that they conduct a ceremony to give the mask a name.

 

Find out more about the exhibition 

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Sowei mask: spirit of Sierra Leone

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