Dan Mask, Liberia
Lot 127
Dan Mask, Liberia
US$ 8,000 - 12,000
€5,800 - 8,700
Auction Details
Lot Details
Dan Mask, Liberia
height 9 1/4in (23.5cm)

Hans Himmelheber, Heidelberg, collected in situ 1932
Georg and Lore Kegel, Hamburg
Boris Kegel-Konietzko, Hamburg
Private Collection, Switzerland

"The Dan are farming people who inhabit the hinterland of western Ivory Coast and Liberia. They have a great number of masked figures who represent spirits of the bush, and fulfill a variety of social, political, and religious functions. According to Eberhard Fischer and Hans Himmelheber, eleven types of Dan masks can be distinguished by formal criteria. This does not imply, however, that the types can be associated with specific function, because the meanings of masks change over time." (Hahner, et. al, 2007: cat. 32)

"In fourteen expeditions Hans Himmelheber focused his research on the artistic skills of traditional African sculptors. As early as 1933, while studying anthropology in Munich, Berlin, and Tubingen, he pursued his first research among Guru and Baule sculptors of central Cote d'Ivoire. In 1935 he completed his doctoral examinations with the dissertation Negerkunstler: Ethnographische Studien uber den Schnitzkunstler bei den Stammen der Atutu und der Guru im Innern der Elfenbeinkuste. Extended interviews with seventeen individual local artists enabled him to acquire information important to African art historical studies. Dr. Himmelheber sought not only to understand the personalities and techniques of traditional woodcarvers but also, and for the first time in Africa, to raise questions about indigenous aesthetic values and ideals, art for art's sake, and the nature of portraiture. He insisted that African sculpture be understood as art, and he celebrated its makers as true artists." (The Regents of the University of California, 2004)
  1. Fredric Backlar
    Specialist - African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, 90046
    United States
    Work +1 323 436 5416
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 5843
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