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Face Mask (Gunye Ge)

A Yakouba carver

Date:
19th–20th century
Geography:
Côte d'Ivoire, Trokpadrou village
Culture:
Dan peoples
Medium:
Wood, pigment, kaolin
Dimensions:
H. 9 5/8 x W. 5 7/8 in. (24.4 x 14.9 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Lilliam and Sidney Lichter, 1985
Accession Number:
1985.420.2
  • Description

    Dan masks have been documented as the embodiment of at least a dozen artistic personalities. Among these are Deangle, who ventures into the village from the initiation camps to ask women for food; Tankagle and Bagle, who entertain through a range of aesthetically pleasing dances, skits, and mimes; Gunyege, whose mask is worn by a community's champion foot racers in competitions; and Bugle, who historically leads men into battle.

    Once they are divorced from their performance contexts, however, mask forms are difficult to identify. Performances of Bete and Wee masks may span the careers of many generations of wearers, contributing to the increasingly sacred status of these objects. A masquerade's vitality may also be transferred from one mask form to another. Over time, any respected Dan mask may eventually be elevated to the category gunagle, the mask that represents a village quarter, or gle wa, a judicial mask.

  • Provenance

    A Yakouba carver of Trokpadrou in the Tao area, Côte d'Ivoire; [Gaston T. de Havenon, New York]; Lillian and Sidney Lichter, Scarsdale, NY, until 1985

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
314906

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