Anthropomorphic mask, Dan, Ivory Coast


Anthropomorphic mask, Dan, Ivory Coast
Wood, beautiful patina of use
First half of the 20th century
Height: 22cm mask itself, 32cm on base

In stock

SKU: VAL#2101#3 Categories: ,


Description of the African Mask Ivory Coast Dan:

This exquisite African mask from Ivory Coast Dan is an outstanding piece of artwork carved from a single piece of soft wood. It showcases an oval face with distinctive features, including a broad forehead and circular eye holes. This anthropomorphic mask is also characterized by a nose and a mouth in high relief. The wood has been expertly darkened, resulting in a black appearance. This black surface has a shiny finish that enhances the beauty and authenticity of this unique piece.

Spiritual Interpretation of Dan Masks:

The Dan masks, of which this magnificent specimen is a part, are described as the manifestation of immaterial spirits from the forest. They take on the form of human masks. These African sculptures retain their potency even when not worn and are considered spiritually charged. The Dan mask thus underscores the profound connection between African art, spirituality, and nature.

Ritual Essence of African Masks:

Male performers, known as gle-zo, play a pivotal role in the ritualistic life associated with these African masks from Ivory Coast Dan. They receive dreams sent by the spirit of the mask, enabling them to dance with the artwork. During performances, the masks are integrated into the hierarchical system that governs political and religious life, highlighting the social and ritualistic value of these masks in Dan culture.

Diversity of Dan Masks in African Art:

Dan masks, a treasure trove of African art, embody a dozen distinct artistic personalities. Deangle, seeking food from women; Tankagle and Bagle entertaining through dances, skits, and mimes. Bugle historically leading men into battle; and Gunyege worn by champions in foot races during competitions. All these functions illustrate the diversity of roles and meanings associated with these masks.

Complex Identification of Ivory Coast Dan African Masks:

However, it is emphasized that accurately identifying these masks can be challenging once detached from their performance context. The same applies to this African mask from Ivory Coast Dan. This complexity reinforces the idea that the profound meaning of these masks is often intrinsically linked to specific performances and ritual contexts.

This specimen thus embodies not only the artistic richness of African masks from Ivory Coast Dan but also the mystery and depth of their significance within the context of African art and culture.

Additional information


Ivory Coast