Passport Mask With Coiffure, From Man

Dan peoples

Côte d'Ivoire, Africa

Passport Mask with Coiffure, from Man, early 20th century

  • On View

Wood and fiber

Dimensions: 6 1/2 × 5 in. (16.5 × 12.7 cm)

Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment, 2002.49

Too small to be worn, passport masks are carried like an amulet in a leather pouch, tied to the arm or hung around the neck. These miniature masks are so named because the owner carries the trinket as protection when traveling away from home, hunting, or waging war. This mask is a smaller copy of a family mask worn and danced in community rituals and ceremonies. In Dan culture, masks embody a bush spirit, capable of doing good or evil. The round eye shape of this mask is considered masculine and is associated with aggressive behavior. The beard suggests rich ancestral history and high status.

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