african mask Dan masks antiques tribal masks vintage masks Carved Hanging -5295

$70 $95
36.7/9 CM
The Guinea masks coast's Dan masks communities boast of their skilled artists who create magnificent wooden masks spoons that double as sculptures. These spoons, known as wake masks mia or wunkirmian masks, are often used during feasts. The spoons masks come in varying sizes, ranging from one to two feet in length, with one or rarely, two bowls. The handle of the spoons is intricately decorated and usually features a human form. In this particular example, a woman's head is carved on the handle. Her elaborate hairstyle comprises of two large crescents that span from front to back, and two smaller ones that arch over her ears. The oval face has slit eyes and an ample mouth containing four metal tab teeth. The neck is adorned with scarification patterns that further enhance its beauty and strength. The spoon boasts a lengthy, slender, lobed neck leading to a bowl adorned with incised linear patterns along its exterior. Some wunkirmian models even feature two legs as handles rather than a carved head. In Dan culture, the spoon's owner earns the distinguished title of wa ke de, or "acting woman at feasts." This honor is bestowed upon the most hospitable woman in the village, who then bears the responsibility of preparing a grand feast for masquerade ceremonies. The wa ke de's exceptional farming abilities, organizational skills, and culinary prowess are vital in properly welcoming and celebrating the masquerade spirits. When a woman is selected as the main hostess for such a feast, she proudly parades through town with the large spoon as a symbol of her elevated status. During the village celebration, the female host dons male attire to earn respect. Accompanied by female kin and friends, she brandishes a wunkirmian and a bowl of coins or rice. Meanwhile, she sings a special song and dances, distributing the grains and coins to the children. The belly of the spoon used to dispense the bounty symbolizes the female figure's womb, and the event creates a visual tribute to women as food and life sources. This profound analogy honors the hostess and all women.

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