Western Africa, Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire, Dan peoples, ca. first half of the 20th century CE. A large hand-carved wooden face mask from the Dan people known as a "kagle" (spirit mask). The periphery is lined with several perforations meant for attaching a larger costume or headdress, and the verso is carved out and intended for wear. The obverse boasts thick layers of grey and white pigment along the exterior surfaces, and the face within the tab-shaped cheeks is painted with bright crimson-hued paint. Square eyes, a crested triangular nose, and a plateaued forehead comprise the abstract visage, and an attached horse-hair beard imbues the mask with the appearance of an elderly man. 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: 5.5" W x 12" H (14 cm x 30.5 cm); 14.25" H (36.2 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-Dave DeRoche collection, Piedmont, California, USA
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