Dan masks from my private collection.
These rare Dan masks where collected in the
'60s, but are certainly from begin XXth or late XIXth. Superb quality.
My mother collected Dan and Bassa
masks, I remember that my mother had a wall filled with +/- 70 Bassa masks
brought back during the Biafra war by Paolo Moridgi and +/- 5 Dan
In between I bought several Dan
masks, and also asks my mother for a Bassa mask when it is my
anniversary each year.
This is a Dan mask with complete documentation from Houzeau
De Lehaie, a biologist who bought it in 1934 between Dan &
was the left hand from Frans Olbrechts.
goes with a copy from the French field book with a drawing from the mask. I found the original
documents in the Tervueren Museum.
This mask is not for sale,
it's from my private collection, but it can be included in a museum
exhibition on request.
fine Dan masks from my mother's collection.
A very fine Dan
mask coming from the Duperrier collection Paris . Available for sale
or inclusion in an exhibition.
A Dan Forest Spirit Mask
The lips have red pigments.
See my advertising in the Tribal autumn
'03 edition with the
The fine coiffe is typical for XIXth century samples.
These masks would be adorned with
textiles, hair or facepaint (red=danger, white=the spirit world), but they
depend primarily on skillful carving for their effect.
Deangle masks are worn by someone from
the initiation school who is sent back to the village for food. There, his
identity hidden behind the calm, smiling, almost feminine features of the
mask, he gathers supplies and reassures the mothers about their sons'
Dan boys who attend initiation school
have no contact with their mothers for several weeks -- the length of
principal mask-carving peoples of northern Liberia and western Ivory Coast are
the Dan, Mano, Loma, Wee, and Grebo. Each group speaks a different language
although the Dan, Mano and Loma languages are similar as are the Wee and Grebo.
Skilled farmers and hunters, the Dan have traditionally lacked broad political
unity and each village functions as an individual political and economic unit.
The Dan believe that the forest -- the uncultivated land -- is their source of
spiritual power and the masks in the Spirit of Africa Collection are generally
known as forest spirit masks. They often depict animals, birds and forest
spirits rather than humans. The masks are worn during instruction at young men's
initiation camp in the bush but not at final ceremonies. They are usually of
finely carved hardwood, polished black, but otherwise unembellished or lightly
Dan masks are typically symmetrical and highly stylized with squinty eyes,
everted lips, and naturalistic nose. They frequently have vertical ridges
running down the middle of the face from forehead to chin. Dan masks exhibited
in Paris in the early 1900's inspired Picasso to develop the strongly
abstracting style of Cubism, which would be so influential in the course of
Dan forest spirit masks might have been worn by a chief or judge when
arbitrating a disagreement at a cow feast. In addition to the classic Dan facial
features, incised lines show scarification patterns, and white clay around the
eyes indicate contact with the spirit world.
tribes > West
Africa > Dan-Ngere
information found at: http://www.people.memphis.edu/~artmuseum/afrguide.html
African masks from Known Collections
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Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart
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