Dan Mbuye Mask
The Dan live in the western Ivory Coast and Liberia. They consider mask-making an important art form and an integral part of their life. Masking ceremonies have three different functions: bringing spirits to life, social control and instruction, and entertainment. The dancer transforms into the spirit he represents and enables communication between the spirit world and the material world to take place.

Masks made by the Dan are generally divided into two categories, feminine and masculine. Feminine masks have slit eyes and painted faces; masculine masks have large round eyes. The white and blue paint and slit eyes on this mask indicate that it is representative of a female spirit. This particular mask would be worn by older males at an young boys initiation ceremony. Its purpose is to calm the young boys with its nurturing female powers. The mask is carved out of wood and has a raffia beard with cowry shells attached. The shells are a symbolize wealth. (MO'N)

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