dan deangle mask
country: ivory coast
material: wood, dark patina, braided fiber
size: 9" (22.9 cm)
provenace: scaasi collection
The Deangle mask, presented here, is of the typical concave form with the forehead and nose bisected by a vertical medial ridge that reflects a former custom of decorating with a vertical tattoo band. This mask represents a female forest spirit. These masks, with their slit or large circular eyes portray a gentle, peaceful type of spirit whose attributes and behavior are feminine. When the deangle masks are used in the boy’s circumcision camp located in a sacred forest grove, their function is to provide the boys with a calm surrogate feminine presence and to instruct boys in adult male responsibilities, social roles, and proper behavior. This mask may also serve as an intermediary between the village and the young people that are being initiated; in this case it is called: bonagle. The bonagle doesn’t dance or sing, but jokes with the women who are collecting food for the initiates.
Notes on the Scaasi Collection: The bulk of the collection was put together in the 1970's from galleries in the New York area while the collector was living in Greenwich Village. His collecting continued over the years though with a piece added here and there through till the mid to late 1990’s. No documentation exists, the information is from family members.