Western Africa, Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia, Dan / Kran peoples, ca. late 19th to early 20th century CE. An intriguing, hand-carved wooden mask depicting a ceremonial personality known as "Bagle," an entertainer spirit who performs a myriad of dances and theatrical performances. The ovoid mask bears a combination of anthropomorphic and simian features and boasts an enormous nose between two tubular eyes, protruding cheeks, a plateaued brow with a petite iron barb, a projecting mouth with a row of integral teeth along the top, and braided plant fibers that create a multi-stranded beard. Dozens of perforated holes line the periphery of the mask, and traces of white, red, blue, and brown pigment are visible in areas scattered amongst the lustrous patina. A wonderful ceremonial mask from Liberia and the Ivory Coast! Size (w/o beard): 5.375" W x 9" H (13.7 cm x 22.9 cm); 18.8" H (47.8 cm) on included custom stand.
The Dan people, who live in Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire, produce masks for nearly every element or occasion of their society, including education, war, peace, and entertainment. In Mande, the Dan language, masks are referred to as "gle" or "ge," which is also the term for the supernatural beings who live outside the village and who can inhabit the masks during ritual practice.
For a stylistically-similar example of a "Bagle" mask without a beard, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 1980.562.1:
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-Gerald Nordland collection, Chicago, Illinois, USA; ex-David Stuart Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USA
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Losses to areas of periphery on verso, teeth on lower jaw, parts of eyes, and areas of beard strands as shown. Minor abrasions and nicks to mouth, cheeks, forehead, and verso, with fading to original pigmentation, light encrustations, and minor desiccation to beard strands commensurate with age. Light earthen deposits, nice traces of original pigment, and great patina throughout.