The Dan Masks Of The Ivory Coast

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Of all African masks, those by the Dan persons are essentially the most distinguishable and extremely sought after, with their minimal however expressively carved options, easy modulations of facial planes and sleek polished black or dark brown surfaces. Collectors of African art adore the stark corpse-like faces of the Dan masks, that are usually crafted out of arduous wood, cloth and cowry shell accents.

The Dan people have inhabited the areas of the Ivory Coast and Liberia because the eighth century B.C. Because they lacked a cohesive central authorities, identity as a Dan was fostered by a shared language and intermarriage inside that language group. Much of their historical past has been entrenched in warfare and battles with neighboring tribes as well as with one another at instances. This result in the Dan warriors growing a somewhat ferocious repute.

The Dan individuals classify surroundings into two realms – the village with all their inhabitants (human realm), and the forest (spirit realm) where the spirits reign, and wild animals roam freely. The forest is considered sacred, and crossing the boundary between the human realm and the spirit realm might solely be achieved so by saying a prayer and sporting materials from both worlds. This creates a hyperlink between the two realms. Dan masks are guarded by the 済ograsp, the pinnacle of the secret society of the leopard who’s liable for the initiation rites of younger men into adulthood.

Dan masks as well as most African masks are an integral a part of social life, ceremonies and rituals. They’re unique and had been traditionally only carved by initiated members of the male Poro society. There are various different types of Dan masks, however most of them might be grouped into two essential classes: the feminine mask, and the masculine mask. The feminine masks are sometimes characterized by an oval, pointed face, and feature slender slanted eyes, a long forehead, a slender nose, a half-opened mouth and a smooth patina finish. The shiny patina of the wood is usually created utilizing vegetable extracts which provides the look of a lacquer end. They’re identified for their calm, summary beauty, and through ceremonies, the performer dances gracefully and harmlessly. The female Dan mask is an idealized form of beauty and grace.

Masks are made and worn exclusively by male dancers. They painting far more of a realistic kind reminiscent of bigger lips. Traditionally the masculine masks major perform was to organize men spiritually for battle. The Dan individuals imagine that the performing dancer is remodeled into a spirit. The masked dancer will converse in the language of the spirits which is usually unintelligible. A smart man that accompanies the dancer throughout the ritual will then translate the messages for the folks.

There are a wide range of Dan face masks, each of which has a different function. They stands out as the intermediaries who act between the village and the forest initiation camp, might act in opposition to bush fires during the dry season, used in pre-battle ceremonies for peace-making or for entertainment. Over time, many amongst them have lost their original perform and have been recycled into contexts associated to leisure, rising only for festivals or occasions organized for guests or vacationers.

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