The Dan group is a tribe of the Dan-Nguere. They live
in west Liberia, Guinea
Conakry and west Ivory Coast. The social and spiritual base of the
is the secret society Poro, that means "sierra". There are a lot
different Dan-Nguere masks, and sometimes one kind of mask is used in
places for several finalities.
Female Dan masks are known by the importance given to
the face: egg-shaped,
oval forehead, long and narrow eyes, thin nose and half-opened mouth.
excelence of the lines is enhanced by a shining patina they introduce
wood, using vegetables extracts. When the extracts are dry,
color becomes soft, and it looks like a lacquer. These masks are
to regulate disagreements and to protect children. The Dan usually make
reproductions of these masks called "ma" to venerate them and as a
against diseases. The masks are hidden, and they make clear that the
belongs to the Poro society. This way, the mask almost becomes a sacred
and it has to be venerated with presents of rice and palm oil, and
during full moon periods.
It is not the same with the male face, wich are more
realistic and sometimes
with animal features, as we can see in the excessively long lips
this mask. The Dan masks contain the vital strength called "du", given
Zlan the creator to human beings and animals. There are many "du", and
appear in dreams to tell how they want to be
they just want a fetish to be done for them, or one tree to be planted,
one mask to reside in. Then, the spirit materializes in a "gle", and it
take part in the life of the group. Each "gle" has a role, and it
the events of the community. It also appears in moments of danger or
entertainment. This is why there are a lot of different Dan masks.
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