Dan Mask Deangle Liberia Africa Pearson Collection
Dan masks are a type of African mask used by the Dan people of Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, and Guinea. They are characterized by their elongated faces, high foreheads, and narrow eyes, often with a protruding ridge running down the center of the forehead.
The Deangle mask, in particular, is a type of Dan mask that is associated with the Poro society, which is responsible for educating young men about their social and religious responsibilities. Deangle masks are worn during Poro ceremonies and represent female spirits that are believed to possess supernatural powers.
The Deangle mask typically features a stylized, elongated face with a high forehead, narrow eyes, and a small, pursed mouth. The mask may also have scarification marks or other decorative elements that symbolize the power and authority of the spirit it represents.
The Dan people believe that the Deangle spirit possesses the power to protect against evil forces and to bring fertility and prosperity to the community. During Poro ceremonies, the mask is worn by a male dancer who performs intricate dance movements to honor the spirit and seek its blessings.
The Dan in the past lived in small villages and towns ruling themselves through a complex arrangement of family lineages, men's secret societies and various initiation ceremonies. Famous for their masks the Dan believe that spirits of the wild known as Du manifest themselves in masks and masquerades to humans instructing and sustaining them in life. Famous for their masks the Dan believe that spirits, known as Du, live in the untamed forests and manifest themselves to humans in masks and masquerades instructing and sustaining the Dan in life. When during a dream a male was instructed by a Du to dance a mask, he would commission a carver to make a mask for him. Among the Dan, masks are grouped in an assortment of forms with different duties assigned to each.
From the Collection of Robert Pearson, Denver, Colorado
Bob Pearson began collecting African art later in his life. He was a n engineer, inveterate climber, and long-time collector of books and paintings. Spurred by the Douglas Society at the Denver Museum of Art, and his friendship with noted collector George Heggarty, he began building an enormous, eclectic collection. His African art library grew to several hundred books. He loved textiles and ‚Äúmaterial culture‚Äù-things which had domestic use, like spoons, cups, stools, and chairs, as well as masks and carvings. His collection included items from more than thirty African countries, and his fine eye gave him pieces ranging from a golddust scale to huge Dogon figural ladders. Africa Direct is honored to have been chosen to sell them.