Large 17″ Beaked Dan Bird Mask African Art
This striking mask of a bird’s head was made in Liberia or the Ivory Coast by the Dan tribe, or one of their near relatives. It is an unusually ornate example, with a long, curved beak. The form of the eyes and the dark patina lend a menacing aspect.
The Dan are a farming tribe, settled in the semi- wooded areas of Liberia and the ivory Coast. Much of their mythology and social structure is based upon the forest and its fiercer creatures – the Leopard Society is the main organ of social control. For example, initiates spend up to four months alone in the forest before they are permitted to enter maturity. Dan society was originally a string of spatially-proximate but socially distinct communities, and while they are now – technically at least – centralised, their diversity has found expression in the range of masks and other artefacts that they manufacture.