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Unknown Maker
Face Mask (Deangle) Face Mask (Deangle)
20th century 20th century

For the Dan, a mask is a manifestation of a forest spirit. When such a spirit decides to intervene in human affairs, it selects a villager to impersonate it through appearing in a dream. With the information thus gained, the chosen person commissions a mask from a carver. Eleven different mask types have been identified, and a mask can acquire new functions with the addition of other materials.

The most common type of Dan face covering, deangle means ¿smiling mask.¿ Typical of the form, the oval face, narrow eye slits and bulging forehead evoke Dan ideals of female beauty. The masker wears a cone-shaped helmet, cotton shawl and raffia skirt as he moves in a slow dignified way intended to convey a sense of calm. One function of the deangle mask is to link the boys¿ circumcision camp, the forest, with their mothers¿ domain, the village. By collecting food prepared by the mothers for their sons, and bringing camp news to the village, the deangle masker alleviates anxieties in both realms.

 
Unknown Maker
Dan peoples Dan peoples
Face Mask (Deangle) Face Mask (Deangle)
20th century 20th century
wood, plant fibres wood, plant fibres
height / width / depth: 22.70 x 17.50 x 6.50 cm; 8.94 x 6.89 x 2.56 in.
Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984 Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984
M84-400

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