Object Place: Liberia; Cote d'Ivoire
41.9 cm (16 1/2 in.)
Medium or Technique
Wood, vegetable fiber, shell
Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)
Masks appear among the Dan for both entertainments and as materialized symbols of spirit powers for adjudication and social control. Originally owned by individual families, masks were given specific names and promoted or demoted according to the wearer’s status. This deangle mask represents a female forest spirit, with its oval face, slit eyes, full lips, and smooth surface suggesting an ideal of beauty. The headdress with cowries is but one part of the masquerade costume that consists of a tall fabric cap, colorful cape, and raffia skirt.
By 1974, with Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York; June 1, 1992, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art (stock no. 51-01931) to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, year-end gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 1995)
Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel