Mask - Wood - Dan - Côte d'Ivoire

Mask - Wood - Dan - Côte d'Ivoire
Mid 20th century - Good

A Fine classical shape Dan Tankagle dancing mask, Ivory Coast, good condition, some losses to the wood as per images, presumed age second half of the 20th century.

The Dan believe that ‘in’ and behind’ this world exists an essential force called dü which is usually described as a power that is present in all aspects of the world. Dü manifests itself as invisible spirits which may take the form of men or animals. There are some dü spirits which in order to realise a physical nature, must rely on men to create a tangible form for them as masks or figures. The dü causes a man to dream of it and then instructs him in the means through which it must be materialised. One type of dü spirit prefers to be manifested as a masquerade - these are the mask spirits.

All spirit masks are described as ge by the northern Dan and as gle or glö by the southern & western Dan (meaning ‘mysterious being’). These masquerade spirits wish to help men and to advise them, revealing their desire through dreams. The masquerade does not merely represent a spirit, it IS that spirit.

Every spirit masquerade has a proper name (e.g. wuti = black antelope / slü = falcon / gao = diana monkey). In addition they often have another title / a praise name or one which explains the function or significance of the masquerade. The tankagle masquerade (also called takega) is the character whose name means ‘dancing, miming masquerade’. Such masks are used to entertain the audience with varied dances, sometimes with playing little scenes or singing. If the masquerade specialises as a singer, it’s called gle sö.

Guido Gentili Private Collection, Italy. Acquired at the end of the '60s.
Bertolami Fine Art, Rome Italy
Private Collection, London UK.

Lot details
Ethnic group/ culture
Region/ country
Côte d'Ivoire
Mid 20th century
Sold with stand
27.6×16.7×7 cm
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