Liberia / Cote d’Ivoire
10″ tall (25.4 cm)
Private Collection – Florida, USA.
The Dan deangle mask-being is known for its distinctive oval face with slit eyes, a symbol of beauty in the Dan culture. Its gentle and graceful character represents the idealized standard of beauty. With its expressive protruding lips and a few teeth showing, along with the curve of the forehead and oval face, the deangle mask embodies the essence of elegance.
The main purpose of the Dan deangle mask is to teach, entertain, and support peaceful activities in the village. Despite having no gender, its qualities are perceived as feminine by both the Dan people and outsiders.
This mask often features raised tattoo markings on the forehead, reminiscent of the old practices of the Liberian Dan. Additionally, a horizontal band of white across the eyes is commonly seen, symbolizing the continued cosmetic tradition of women and girls painting their faces with white kaolin for special occasions.
Among the northern Dan communities in the Ivory Coast and Guinea, the deangle masks may not have the forehead line, but instead showcase an incised pattern encircling the mask, representing the art of tattooing.