Provenance: Philip and Rosalind Goldman

The border between Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia cuts across several ethnic groups, including the Dan, Wee, Kran, and Grebo. In Dan society, dangerous immaterial forest spirits are translated into the forms of human face masks. Whether or not they are worn, such sculptures are spiritually charged. Male performers, gle-zo, experience a dream sent by the mask spirit that allows them to dance it. In performance, the masks are integrated into the hierarchical system that governs political and religious life.

Carved from a single piece of soft wood, this oval face mask by a Dan carver of Côte d'Ivoire or Liberia features a wide forehead, large circular eye holes, and nose and mouth in high relief. The wood has been darkened and appears black with a shiny surface.

Liberia, Africa
Wood, 25 x 20 cm

Price on request,