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Face Mask (Bu Gle)

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Face Mask (Bu Gle)

10 x 6 1/2 x 4 1/4 in. (25.4 x 16.5 x 10.8 cm)

Unknown, Dan
Ivoirian

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Wood, metal, pigment, sacrificial materials
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1970.24
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

To the Dan, a carved mask holds no power until it has been activated. A nail in the top of the forehead is sometimes a sign of spiritual activation, animating a previously inanimate object. The nail in this mask might also have functioned simply to secure pieces of the dance costume to the mask.

The most important art to the Dan are the masks that embody powerful spiritual forces called gle. These wild, unpredictable bush spirits yearn to participate in the ordered realm of the village. Bu gle are war masks. Their bulging eyes and sharp angular features speak of an aggressive nature that is reflected in a rough and vigorous dancing style.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
Afrantique Arts, Wyckoff, NJ; purchased from them by the Gallery in 1970

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