Western Africa, Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire, Dan peoples, ca. mid to late 19th century CE. A fabulous example of a wooden mask from the Dan peoples known as a "kagle" (spirit mask). The highly-stylized visage is composed of carved circular eyes above lightly-protruding cheeks, a prominent nose with incised nostrils, deep nasolabial folds flanking the crescent-shaped mouth, with a pointed chin, and a plateaued forehead with a pierced central slot meant to hold additional ornamentation. The periphery is lined with several perforations meant to attach to a larger costume or headdress, and the verso is carved out and intended for wear. Kagle masks are seen as trouble-makers within the village, meant to disrupt social festivals with aggression and erraticism. Their true purpose is to teach and reinforce how societal institutions behave when disturbed, relying on discipline and order to preserve their foundations. Size: 6.125" W x 9.875" H (15.6 cm x 25.1 cm); 14.1" H (35.8 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-private New York, USA collection
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Repairs to nose, chin, and forehead, with stabilization to some fissures, and light adhesive residue along some break lines. Losses to periphery along verso as shown, with small chips and abrasions to face, verso, and peripheries, and light encrustations. Light earthen deposits and fine patina throughout.