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Dan Slit Gong Three Faces Ivory Coast African Art 29 Inch

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Product #: 118777
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Title Dan Slit Gong Three Faces Ivory Coast African Art 29 Inch
Type of Object Statue, instrument
Country of Origin Liberia or Ivory Coast
People Dan
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 29 Inches
Width: 8 Inches
Depth: 7 Inches
Overall Condition Fair
Damage/Repair Very well worn patina, large cracks through backside, chipped foot, cracks and chips


 Additional Information: An abstract figure with a large decorated cavity in the torso; the performer would use a mallet to strike the walls of the cavity for a hollow percussive sound.  The head is composed of three faces that are carved in Dan style, with protruding lips and domed foreheads.   


The Dan numbering about 350,000, live as farmers in small villages and towns in Northwest Liberia and eastern Ivory Coast. Sculpted female figures among the Dan or Yacuba are commissioned by wealthy or socially prominent men to represent their favored wife. Sometimes sculpted with a baby on their back the figures exemplify the ideas of fertility and continuity of the family. These figures are known as ‘lu me’ or wooden person and can be over 60 centimeters in height. They do not portray ancestors but are stylized portraits of real individuals closely representing the hairstyle, body markings, and physiognomy of the wife. These sculptures are superb examples of Dan sculpture and were often the work of well-known artists who worked in secret away from women and children as they carved the lu me figures. In some instances ‘lu me’ sculptures are made public to the village during a ceremony in which the man who commissioned the carving is recognized and gaining social prestige. These figures may also be kept in small houses and only publicly shown on special occasions.


Recommended Reading:


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


WK1117