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Lot 104B: Pair African Carved Wooden Dan Passport Masks
27 October 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
** A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this lot will benefit The Fowler Museum at UCLA **
Africa, Ivory Coast, Dan, ca. early 20th century CE. A pair of finely carved, Dan passport masks, one miniature the other of a petite size, both with a characteristic concave face, pointed chin, protruding mouth, slit eyes, upturned nose, and high domed forehead with a prominent vertical central ridge. While passport masks have traditionally been made throughout the Ivory Coast, regional stylistic variations exist. For instance, while these are quite similar, the larger example features a carved and painted white 'mask' over its eyes which are painted a contrasting red hue. Passport masks like these were carried by people in Western Africa as miniature copies of masks worn during performances. They were made to be sewn onto a piece of cloth and kept in a leather pouch, worn on the small of the back, or worn on the arm or neck to act as an amulet. They are called "passport masks" because they are worn by people when traveling to protect them during their journeys. Larger mask with perforations at top center and sides. Smaller with one encrusted perforation at top center. Both with lovely patina that has developed over time. Size: larger mask measures 5" W x 7.75" H (12.7 cm x 19.7 cm)
Provenance: Ex-Morgan Collection, Santa Monica, CA.
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Condition Report: Paint loss as shown and 1.75" chip to back periphery of larger mask. Small nick to back of chin and age crack in vecinity of periphery of miniature mask. Both show nice patina and