Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Dan Mask with Teeth Deangle Liberia Custom Stand African Art

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $99.00 Regular Price $210.00
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Brand Unbranded
Title Dan Mask with Teeth Deangle Liberia Custom Stand African Art
Type of Object Face Mask
Country of Origin Liberia
People Dan
Materials Wood, Bovine bone or teeth, metal
Approximate Age 20th Century
Height (in) 9
Width (in) 5
Dimensions Height: 9 Inches
Width: 5 Inches
11.5 Inches on stand: Base is 3.5 x 3.5 inches
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Scratches, cracks and chips

Additional Information: This African mask comes from Liberia and the Cote D'Ivoire by the Dan people. This is a classical and well-used mask. This mask retains all the qualities of a beautiful carved mask from this region. The features are beautifully sculpted with attention to the detailing of eyes, nose and mouth. The eyes are decorated with metal sheets. The mouth has prominent lips and shows two teeth. The holes around the mask would have had the costume attached to it to cover and disguise the body of the dancer. The inner side of the mask shows signs of long use by the smoothed surfaces.

The Dan (or the Yacuba in some writing), in the past lived in small villages and towns ruling themselves through a complex arrangement of family lineages, men’s secret societies and various initiation ceremonies. Famous for their masks the Dan believe that spirits of the wild known as Du manifest themselves in masks and masquerades to humans instructing and sustaining them in life. Famous for their masks the Dan believe that spirits, known as Du, live in the untamed forests and manifest themselves to humans in masks and masquerades instructing and sustaining the Dan in life. When during a dream a male was instructed by a Du to dance a mask, he would commission a carver to make a mask for him. Among the Dan, masks are grouped in an assortment of forms with different duties assigned to each. This mask with its oval shape, shiny smooth black surface and finely carved features is called Deangle or Tangle. Thought to portray a woman it dances in a style thought to be feminine, with gliding steps and graceful movements. Deangle dances for all to see as ‘she’ entertains and instructs the village in peaceful pursuits. Each Deangle mask reflects the skill of the artist and taste of the patron and while local variations occur there are long established criteria for Deangle that reflect a long standing Dan cultural aesthetics and styles.

Recommended Reading:

Harley, G.W., Notes on the Poro in Liberia, Papers of the Peabody Museum, Archaeology & Ethnology, XIX, No.2 (Cambridge, MA, 1941)

Harley, G.W. Masks as Agents of Social Control in Northeast Liberia, Papers of the Peabody Museum, Archaeology & Ethnology, xxxii, No.2 (Cambridge, MA, 1950)

E. Fischer and Hans Himmelheber; The Arts of the Dan in West Africa, (Zurich, 1984)