TITLE: Dan Maou Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Africa
COUNTRY: Côte d’Ivoire
ETHNICITY: Maou (Dan)
DESCRIPTION: Koma Society Mask
CEREMONY: Secret Society; Social Control
AGE: Late 20th century
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: burlap; cowrie shells; raffia fiber; iron bell; cotton wadding; string; kaolin clay
The Dan people are a large ethnic group inhabiting Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. In the northwest region of Côte d’Ivoire is the Dan Maou, a subgroup of the Dan. The Maou are largely governed by a variety of secret societies that use masquerade to enforce social norms and punish witchcraft and sorcery. The Koma society uses this anthropomorphic bird-beaked mask to detect and punish sorcery.
For more on Dan masks, see Eberhard Fischer, Dan Forest Spirits: Masks in Dan Villages, AFRICAN ARTS, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 16-23 (1978).