An actor of social order, the African Dan mask would, according to Eberhard Fisher, be either feminine or masculine in type. In the category of zapkei masks, this racing mask often trimmed with red textile is here pierced with large eyes haloed with light crusty pigments.
Its headdress, made of carefully braided raffia, shows a dense head of hair. A trim of human hair, underlined by cowries, forms a beard. Dark lustrous patina.
The masks equipped with round orbits ( named gunyeya or gunye ge), facilitating vision, are part of the mask set of the Northern Dan and are used for racing events in the dry season. As for the zapkei ge , equipped with a gaze highlighted with red textile pierced with circular orbits, they are responsible for preventing fires by watching over domestic fires. They are worn accessorized with caps, braids, textile cape and raffia, the most prestigious of them being the go ge , royal mask reserved for exceptional events. The "déanglé" with its pleated eyes, embodying an ideal of beauty, plays an active role between the initiation camp and the village.
ref. Art of Sub-Saharan Africa" C. Mullen Kreamer; "Tribal Art of Black Africa" J.B. Bacquart.
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