Bird theme in African art
A bifid, curved beak, reminiscent of the hornbill, extends the lower part of this African mask Dan Maou . Fitted with a beard of blond mane, this face, which borrows the round eyes of the Gunye ge racing mask, hesitating between two natures, turns into a zoomorphic piece. This type of composition is recurrent in African tribal statuary. The Dan populations of the north known as Yacouba of the Ivory Coast and the Maou of Touba (Maouka), after having borrowed them from the neighboring Mande people, use them in secret male ceremonies including the Koma of the Maou and the Poro society of the Dan. Ritual, vegetal libations have formed a grainy coating on the middle part of the face, while a resinous band holds the cotton cloth on the upper contours of the mask. The mottled patina shades to black and burgundy brown
For the Dan of the Ivory Coast, a Malinke people also called Yacouba, two very distinct universes oppose each other: that of the village, composed of its inhabitants, its animals, and that of the forest, its vegetation and the animals and spirits that populate it. In order for these spirits to establish themselves, a specific area of the forest is designated and always preserved outside the dan villages. Sacrifices are also required in order to communicate through these spirits. Different types of dan masks have been identified, each with a specific function.
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