220401 - Old tribal used African Dan Guere warrior mask - Iv. Coast.
Old tribal used Dan - Guere warrior mask from Iv Coast.
Height; 40 cm.
Hand carved from a single piece of wood and other material with color pigments.
Oral traditions describe the Dan society of the 19th century as lacking any central governing power. Social cohesion was fostered by a shared language and a preference for intermarriage. Generally, each village had a headman who had earned his position of advantage in the community through hard work in the fields and through luck as a hunter. They usually surrounded themselves with young warriors for protection from invading neighbors and exchanged gifts with other chiefs in order to heighten their own prestige. Out of this custom was born the basic tradition of tin among the Dan, which was based on displaying one's success in order to build a good reputation and name.
Both the Dan and Wee have dynamic masking associations known as Poro that initiate the young and regulate society. Poro is an exclusively restricted men’s society, however masks between the Wee and their Dan neighbors are divided into male and female categories based on their form and details. Female masks are rounded or oval, narrow eyes and finely delicate non-challenging features, whereas the male mask is larger in size, grosser in proportions, with an open and challenging mouth with teeth, tube-like eyes, fur and raffia. The exaggerated features of this mask, though vaguely human, refer to forces in the bush whose energy and powers add to the authority of the spirit represented. Whereas female masks appear to entertain, male masks exercise social control, punishing wrongdoers, settling disputes, declaring wars and proclaiming peace. In the past they are also said to have been in the bush camps when the boys were being initiated. Wee masks like this were meant to instill fear through their appearance combining human and animal features and remembrance of the masks’s aggressive behavior in the past.3