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Dan Gunye Ge Mask - Sagbwe Mask


Country: Republic of Côte d’Ivoire or Liberia.
Culture: Dan.

Date: first half of the 20th century.
Medium: wood, tin.
Size: h. 25 cm (9 ¾ in.), width 16 cm (6 ¼ in.).
Reference: DANI10/1.
Provenance: ex collection Tom Lenders (1942-2019), Amsterdam.
Tom Lenders, artist, publicist, art historian and collector was a teacher at the famous Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and the AKI at Enschede.

Extra: Dan, also called Gio or Yakuba, an ethnolinguistic grouping of people inhabiting the mountainous west-central Côte d’Ivoire and adjacent areas of Liberia. The Dan belong to the Southern branch of the Mande linguistic subgroup of the Niger-Congo language family.

Predominantly found in the northern Dan region, the gunyege mask (also called gunyeya, gunyega, biyega) which belong to the complex of sagbwe masks, is translated to mean the ‘racing masquerade’. These wide open round-eyed masks, for a good vision, are oval. The eyes may be slightly projecting or carved out as holes. Such masks were historically used to train young men to fight before a war. These days its used during a chasing game with the fastest young men of the village. The masks are tied to the head with a strap and a kerchief usually serves as head covering. As the game goes, the masquerade is chased by an unmasked runner. "If caught, the unmasked runner wears the mask and is in turn pursed".


Photo credit: © Jean Godecharle.


Dan Gunye Ge Mask

3.400,00 €Price
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