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Dan Bird Mask with Beak Liberia African Art Collection

Product #: 128410
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Title Dan Bird Mask with Beak Liberia African Art Collection
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Cote D'Ivoire, Liberia
People Dan
Materials Wood, pigment, feathers
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 12 Inches
Width: 5.5 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 Chipped edge


Additional Information: The Dan people, who live in Liberia and the Ivory Coast, are governed largely by secret societies. The Leopard Society acts as a major regulator of Dan life, and initiates young men. Famous for their masks, the Dan believe that spirits, known as "Du," live in the forests and manifest themselves to humans in masks and masquerades, instructing and sustaining the Dan in life. Thus masks are used as agents of social control. Among the Mau masks with hornbill horns are used in the man's association, Koma. And are said to represent the spirits of bush called to establish order and are intended to exert a certain social control and chase away evil forces.

Recommended Reading: E. Fischer and Hans Himmelheber: "The Arts of the Dan in West Africa," (Zurich, 1984) E. Fischer “Dan Forest Spirits: Masks in Dan Villages”, African Arts, II, no. 2, 1978. pp. 16-23, 94 B. C. Johnson: "Four Dan Sculptors: Continuity and Change," (San Francisco, 1986)


From the Collection of Robert Pearson, Denver, Colorado

Bob Pearson began collecting African art later in his life.  He was an engineer, inveterate climber, and long-time collector of books and paintings.  Spurred by the Douglas Society at the Denver Museum of Art, and his friendship with noted collector George Heggarty, he began building an enormous, eclectic collection. His African art library grew to several hundred books.  He loved textiles and “material culture”-things which had domestic use, like spoons, cups, stools, and chairs, as well as masks and carvings.  His collection included items from more than thirty African countries, and his fine eye gave him pieces ranging from a golddust scale to huge Dogon figural ladders.  Africa Direct is honored to have been chosen to sell them.