Africa

Red Dan mask

Q: I think it is a Poro Dan mask, from Cote d’Ivorie or Liberia. It is covered in red cloth with a nail hammered in the top. The eyes are made from a very thin metal. The mouth and mustache is made from animal fur and the teeth seem to be actual animal teeth. Any more info would be greatly appreciated. I think that it was worn and used, but I would highly appreciate you’re input. Marcel, 1553

A: I apologize for taking so long to answer. I was vacationing in Mexico City with my son and grandson. It’s a great place to visit. Real estate is expensive, but everything else is cheap.

Looking at your medium-res scans, I think this handsome piece is authentic. Hopefully, one of our experienced collectors will let us know the truth. Dan masks are very popular. You can find lots of information on Google. A

5 Comments

  • Eric

    The teeth are carved wood or bone. Although it looks convincing from the front, the reddish, polished inside shows that it is without doubt a fake piece made for sale and treated to look old.

    • Marcel

      Hi Eric

      I wanted to ask, is the red polish inside always a sing of modern ageing technique?
      Would this then be a modern mask that is made as an artistic piece?

      • Eric

        Hi Marcel – Yes, on Dan masks this redness (at this amount) is a sure sign of a piece made for sale/decoration.
        There can be redness on the raised edges but not this smooth, warm redness all over the inside – it is an applied stain that has been polished to give the illusion of a worn surface.

  • Chris

    I also had my doubts….the wear and tear of the front side seems not to be that what I would expect from a really used mask. Some parts that should be worn are not, while others that would be pretty much untouched are worn, in turn. So, the picture does not fit. I almost would say that the rear is more convincing.

  • Bob Ibold

    I’m going to go along with Eric and Chris. There are a few shops that are skilled enough to create reproductions that will fool most collectors… and even some museums!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *