African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Dan mask
Dan Zapkei mask (N° 21397)
Racing mask of the Dan, known as Zapkei or Gunye ge, distinguished by its large hollowed out eye sockets, concave face, and carefully braided hair. Velvety granular patina. Erosions on the contours.
Height on base : 43 cm.
Piece from the vast Mercier collection which was started at the beginning of the 20th century by Guy, consultant for the Solvay group. While he travelled to West and Central Africa as part of his work, and collected works in situ, the majority of his collection came from the "cabinets of curiosity" that abounded in European capitals during the 1920s. It also comes from prestigious galleries (Paris, Brussels, London, New York).
A mask used for entertainment by the Dan farmers of northwestern Côte d'Ivoire, known as Yacouba, it is also sometimes used as a messenger at the time of circumcision of young boys. Some of the Dan masks, because of their proximity to the Wé of Liberia (called Kran), in addition to the contribution of the tribes of Guinea, have been marked by the influence of the latter. The functions of their different masks, eleven types according to Fisher (1978), may also have evolved over time.
All Dan masks are sacred. They do not represent the spirits of the bush but are those spirits.
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