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Dan We Mask with Ornate Headdress African Art

Regular Price: $390.00

Special Price: $156.00

Product #: 104345
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Title Dan We Mask with Ornate Headdress African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Cote d'Ivoire
People We or Wee, see also Dan
Materials Wood, fabric, copper nose ring, encrusted matter, basketry
Approximate Age mid 20th century
Dimensions Height: 20 Inches
Width: 9 Inches
Depth: 11 Inches
Overall Condition Good
Damage/Repair cracks, scrapes, holes in cheek


Famous for their masks, the Wee as well as other people in Liberia including their neighbors the Dan believe that spirits, known as "Du," live in the forests and manifest themselves to humans in masks and masquerades, instructing and sustaining individuals in life. When during a dream a male was instructed by Du to dance a mask, he would commission a carver to make a mask for him. Among the Dan, such masks features the so-called Deangle or Tangle. Thought to portray a female, 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 continuum in Dan cultural aesthetics and styles. This Deangle mask is classic in it’s features with slightly closed eyes emphasized with white clay giving it a cool distant look, a mouth with large lips. The elabrate headdress adds an aesthetic and  a spiritual dimension to the wooden face.

Recommended Reading: G. Schwab: "Tribes of the Liberian Hinterland," ed. G. W. Harley, Papers Peabody Museum, Archaeology & Ethnology, xxxi (Cambridge, MA, 1947) W. Siegmann and Cynthia Schmidt, "Rock of the Ancestors," (Suacoco, 1977) 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)