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Mask (Gle)

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Dan Peoples
African

Mask (Gle)

20th century

Object Type: Sculpture
Dimensions:
13 3/8 x 8 x 5 in. (33.97 x 20.32 x 12.7 cm)
Medium and Support: Wood and fabric
Accession Number: 2013.0017.0012

Credit Line: Gift of Dileep and Martha Mehta

Currently On View


The Dan make a huge variety of masks, which they call "gle" or "ga", that range from naturalistic to highly stylized representations of humans (male and female) and animals. They believe that masks are manifestations of bush spirits, which are formless until they inhabit masks or large, ritual spoons or ladles. These spirits appear to men in dreams and instruct them to don specific masks and to perform specific music and dances. Masks participate in political and judicial matters, peacemaking, education, competition, and entertainment. The pointed oval form, vertical ridge on the forehead, and crown of horns are typical features of Dan masks.

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