Dan People of Coast and Liberia. Masks are the most important art form of the Dan. Many of the other forms of sculpture are derived from the mask and what the mask symbolizes. Numerically, more masks are created than any other form of sculpture. Spiritually, masks are perceived to embody the most powerful of spirit forces. Mask height – 34 cm. Mask width – 20 cm. Socially, masks are the means of bringing control and order to village life. Masks provide the strongest impressions of a young Dan person’s earliest experience, as their importance is reinforced by their presence at all significant events. Masks are empowered by the strongest of supernatural spirit forces, called gle. Like dii, gle inhabit the dark forest, particularly where the trees grow high and dense. Gle long to enter into and participate in the ordered world of the village but, being invisible, cannot until a visible form for each is made. The nature of that form, a mask and complete masquerade ensemble meant to represent the personality of the gle, is seen in a dream. In addition, the gle must reveal its intended function in the dream or that dream is considered useless. The dreamer, who must be an initiated member of the men’s society, reports the dream to the council of elders. They then decide whether the masquerade ensemble should be created for that man to wear and perform. The carver carves the wooden face, and this is accompanied by attire that includes forest materials such as raffia, feathers, and fur. It is believed that each gle has its own personality, character, dance, speech patterns, likes, and dislikes, and it is given a personal name. The wearer of the mask takes on all these characteristics and qualities when he wears the mask ensemble. Having come from the unknown realm of the dark forest, a gle is thought to be unpredictable. Therefore it always has an attendant with it to control it as well as to interpret its speech. Vandenhoute distinguished two large groups of masks: the gebande and the genome. Gebande is the most sacred examples of Dan masks while Genome is a lower rank of masks.  The classifications relate to the content which the Dan attribute to the mask, rather than the appearance of the mask. Gebande masks can be divided into a series of subgroups and categories: Subgroups: Singers’ African masks Dancers’ African masks Storytellers’ African masks Beggars’ African masks (their primary job is the collecting of offerings for ancestors) Categories: Gore or ancestor African masks (the most sacred of masks) Gesuya or avenger African masks (stands up to the Go master and the ancestors) Miniature African masks (substitutes for Goge or Gesuya masks) Sagbwe African masks (runners’ mask or fire watchers’ mask). Africa is a continent with many and varied cultures. Masks have many meanings in the eyes of the tribes in Africa, most of which symbolize strength and power. You have the opportunity to see up close the tradition and uniqueness of the masks, which were carved with extraordinary handwork and preserved for many years. Join our family and enjoy special works of art directly from the tribes in Africa. This item is in the category “Collectibles\Cultures & Ethnicities\African\1900-Now\Masks”. The seller is “amiteini” and is located in this country: GH. This item can be shipped worldwide.
- Handmade: Yes
- Modified Item: No
- Country/Region of Manufacture: Liberia
- Culture: African
- Provenance: Ownership History Not Available