DescriptionDAN and BASSA, Liberia, Ivory Coast
Seven Passport Masks
Wood, pigment, glass beads, fiber, wax
Miniature masks ("ma go" or "small head") are made by most of the Dan complex groups. Miniatures tend to feature beautiful female faces, avoiding tubular eyes and most of the complex mask types. Maskettes have a variety of functions. Some are small replicas of important masks that the mask owner carries with him when he is away in order to maintain a protective connection with the full-sized original; others are given to women to take with them when they marry and move away, so that they can maintain protective connections with important family masks. Miniatures have several roles in initiation camps, and can also identify the owner of an important mask when he is away from his village, hence the name "passport masks."
Four of the present miniatures come from the Bassa people, while two replicate Sowei helmet masks used in the female Bundu or Sande society. The other piece represents a pedestal head.
Heights: ranging from 1 ¼ to 5 ¼ inches
Estimate: $400 - $600.
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