vendor: hamill gallery
Dan masks are usually used by male associations for rituals, education, social control and entertainment. Masks were thought to embody the most powerful of spirit forces called gle. Each gle has its own character. They brought control and order to village life. There are several distinctly different types of Dan masks.
Masks with softly modeled features, slit or downcast eyes and often a vertical ridge on the forehead are regarded as feminine masks, Deangle, an idealized form of beauty and grace.. They represent gentle spirits who collect food from the villagers for boys away in initiation camps and were used for nurturing, teaching and entertaining. White bands across the eyes copy the practice of Dan females painting white kaolin on their faces for special occasions.
Feminine masks, Tangagle, often more intricately carved than Deangle masks, are used in singing masquerades and confer blessings on the village.