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Dan Ge Gon mask, originally collected in the Kona area of northern Liberia
10.5" tall x 17" long x 7" wide (custom mount is included with the mask)
wood, pigment, animal hair, metal, cowry shells, cloth
mid 20th century
Provenance - ex Dr. Harold McBride, CA
ex private collection, CO
private collection, FL

SOLD

"This mask, referred to as ge gon, is only found among the northern Dan and their neighbors. It appears to be a variation of
bird-beaked masks from the Mau. These masks have oval or slit eyes often framed with tin, and a large beak or snout sometimes
with a black beard of monkey fur attached. The lower jaw is often moveable. The headdress of these masks are commonly
ornamented with mirror glass, cowries, cloth, fur, and tall white feathers. As the mask spirit swoops and dances, the masker carries
in its hands horsetail fly whisks that are waved gently to imitate a large and graceful bird (Fischer 1978, 22-23).

The bird represented by the
ge gon is probably the hornbill, important in Dan mythology as the first being created by Zlan and as
bringer of the oil palm, which is an important food source of the Dan.
Ge gon today dances strictly for entertainment, although it is
thought long ago to have sung songs and proverbs to instruct the people in the importance of this mythological bird (Fischer and
Himmelheber 1984, 81-85)." - Barbara C. Johnson,
Four Dan Sculptors: Continuity and Change, The Fine Arts Museum of San
Francisco.
For additional detail, click on any photo below to see the higher resolution version of the image.