Dan Guere Mask
Country: Ivory Coast.
Culture: Dan Guere (Dan N’gere, Gere, Gwere, We).
Date: late 19th or early 20th century.
Medium: wood, metal, old paint and kaolin.
Size: h. 41 cm (16 ¼ in.).
Provenance: ex Kellim Brown, Ormond Beach, FL (USA).
Extra: The Guere (also known as the Gere, Géré, Gwere or We) of the Southwest Ivory Coast are associated with the Dan to such an extent that their artworks are sometimes referred to as Dan-Gere. Their dynamic social context, based primarily in the forests unlike the savannah-dwelling Dan, has given rise to a highly diverse and organic material culture that evokes forest spirits and dead ancestors through the intermediary of magico-religious rituals. This was managed through usage of the so called “terror” mask, which may be decorated with horns, leaves, shells, metal studs and other paraphernalia, and which is designed to assist dead ancestors to establish contact with tutelary entities from the hereafter. The variety of masks are often characterized by enlarged triangular nose, an open mouth and tubular eyes.
Photo credit: © Jean Godecharle.
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