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20th C. African Dan Painted Wood Passport Mask

Western Africa, possibly Dan, ca. 20th century. This is a passport mask, carried by people in Western Africa as miniature copies of a mask worn during performances; they were either 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 travelling. It is made of wood, with a red painted face, blank half-moon white eyes, long black hair, framing the face, and a prominent chin (which is characteristic of the style). Similarly painted red masks were used for warding against bush fires during the dry season. Size: 2" L x 3.5" W x 4.25" H (5.1 cm x 8.9 cm x 10.8 cm)

Provenance: Ex-Pearson collection acquired at Arte Primitivo, NYC, NY.

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