Of all African masks, People through the Dan persons are essentially the most distinguishable and really wanted, with their minimal but expressively carved attributes, smooth modulations of facial planes and modern polished black or darkish brown surfaces. Collectors of African art adore the stark corpse like faces from the Dan masks, that happen to be Typically crafted from really hard wood, fabric and cowry shell accents.
The Dan folks have inhabited the regions of your Ivory Coast and Liberia since the eighth century B.C. As they lacked a cohesive central federal government, identification as being a Dan was fostered by a shared language and intermarriage inside that language group. Considerably of their record has actually been entrenched in warfare and battles with neighboring tribes together with with one another sometimes. This bring about the Dan warriors developing a somewhat ferocious standing.
The Dan people today classify environment into two realms the village with all their inhabitants (human realm), along with the forest (spirit realm) where by the spirits reign, and wild animals roam freely. The forest is regarded as sacred, and crossing the boundary in between the human realm and also the spirit realm may possibly only be accomplished so by expressing a prayer and donning supplies from both of those worlds. This generates a backlink between The 2 realms. Dan masks are guarded via the “go” learn, The top of The trick Modern society of the leopard who’s answerable for the initiation rites of youthful Adult males into adulthood.
Dan masks as well as most African masks are an integral Element of social existence, ceremonies and rituals. They’re exceptional and were being typically only carved by initiated customers with the male Poro society. There are various differing kinds of Dan masks, but most of them could be grouped into two principal categories: the feminine mask, and the masculine mask. The feminine masks are typically characterised by an oval, pointed face, and feature slender slanted eyes, a lengthy forehead, a slender nose, a 50 % opened mouth plus a sleek patina finish. The shiny patina from the wood is typically established employing vegetable extracts which provides the search of a lacquer complete. They may be known for their quiet, abstract natural beauty, And through ceremonies, the performer dances gracefully and harmlessly. The female Dan mask is an idealized kind of attractiveness and grace.
Masks are made and worn solely by male dancers. They portray a lot more of a sensible sort which include more substantial lips. Traditionally the masculine masks principal function was to get ready Males spiritually for war. The Dan people today feel that the undertaking dancer is transformed right into a spirit. The masked dancer will speak from the language on the spirits which is normally unintelligible. A clever gentleman that accompanies the dancer in the ritual will then translate the messages for that folks.
There are a selection of Dan face masks, each of that has another functionality. They could be the intermediaries who act amongst the village and also the forest initiation camp, may possibly act in opposition to bush fires through the dry time, Utilized in pre war ceremonies for peace making or for enjoyment. With time, several amongst them have shed their authentic function and happen to be recycled into contexts connected with leisure, rising just for festivals or activities structured for readers or vacationers.