230940 - Old African Dan Gunye Ge Mask - Yv. Coast.
Old Dan Gunye Ge or Gunyeya mask from Yv. Coast.
Size; 42 x 38 cm.
Hand carved from a single piece of wood and other material with color pigments.
This is a magnificent Dan Gunye Ge or Gunyeya mask (also designated by ‘running mask’) with its dark patina, is originated from the Dan Tribe of the Iv. Coast. Masks are the most important art form of the Dan. Many of the other forms of sculpture are derived from the mask and what the mask symbolizes. Numerically, more masks are created than any other form of sculpture. Spiritually, masks are perceived to embody the most powerful of spirit forces. Socially, masks are the means of bringing control and order to village life. Masks provide the strongest impressions of a young Dan person's earliest experience, as their importance is reinforced by their presence at all significant events. This Dan mask is indicated by the carefully hollowed interior, as well as by the oval face with high forehead and strongly protruding mouth with full lips cowrie shells, cloth. During the dry season the youths of different villages hold weekly running contests. The masked runner runs after an unmasked runner from the opposite team, and if he wins he will go to search his own mask that he will wear for the next run against an unmasked runner of the first team. These contests tested originally the prowess of young warriors. Also, the power of the Dan mask is to influence the ancestors and that depends on the man. His success shows that the ancestors favor him. An inherited mask retains its power over the ancestors and the more prestigious its owner was in his life, the more powerful he will be as an ancestor.