This mask was created in the Dan We–Guere style. The mask features a the face of a monkey and is decorated with cowrie shells, fabric and metal bells. The mask measures 13 inches tall and weighs 2.5 pounds.
Dan We-Guere Monkey Mask 13″ – Ivory Coast – African Art
|Type of Object||
|Country of Origin||
Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)
Dan, Guere/Gere (We)
Wood, pigment, fabric, metal bells, cowrie shells
Imperfections and wear and tear. See photos or inquire for more information.
About the Dan People
The Dan are known for their superb woodwork. Masks are the single most paramount form of artwork created by the Dan, creating a bridge between the supernatural and physical worlds.
Read more about the Dan here.
About the Dan People
“Dan people, who are also known by the name Yacuba, live in the western part of the Ivory Coast and into Liberia where the land is forested in the south and bordered by a savannah in the north. The 320,000 Dan people make their living from farming cocoa, rice and manioc. Before unifying secret societies were set up at the turn of the century, each Dan village was an autonomous socio-political unit governed by a chief elected on the base of his wealth and social position. Today, the leopard society acts as a major regulator of Dan life and initiates young men during their isolated periods of three to four months in the forest. Dan people have achieved notoriety in the area for their entertainment festivals which were historically village ceremonies, but are today performed largely for tourists. During these festivals, masked performers dance on stilts.”
About the We people
“The We, whose name means ‘men who easily forgive’, live in the forests on the western frontier of the Ivory Coast. They are in fact two separate tribes – The Gere (also known as Ngere) and the Wobe – although they share numerous customs and beliefs. Confederations govern the tribes – the largest is the warrior confederation which is led by a military chief, who also acts as a civil authority. The family unit plays an important role in We social life. Each is led by a patriarch, revered for his wisdom and wealth, who supervises the clan’s life – he organizes weddings, settles conflicts and influences religious life.
We carvers seem to have focused their skills on carving powerful face masks to which paraphernalia such as cowrie shells, bells, nails and feathers were attached. These applied pieces were thought to reinforce the power of the mask.
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.