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Dan Poro Society Mask
Artist: Unknown Ivoirian Artist Primary
Once an object is removed from its original cultural context it is very hard to know the intent of the maker. Was this mask carved for traditional ceremonial purposes? Or was it made to sell as a decorative object or souvenir for someone outside the community?
Sotheby Parke-Bernet, Oct 10-11, 1975, lot 209, ex. Coll. Jay C. Leff by Jacob Fass; 2003 gift to Fairfield University.
Refers to coverings for all or part of the face, usually with openings for the eyes and sometimes the mouth. They are worn to hide or alter the identity of the wearer or for protection. Masks as cultural objects have been used throughout the world in all periods since the Stone Age. Masks are extremely varied in appearance, function, and fundamental meaning. They may be associated with ceremonies that have religious and social significance or are concerned with funerary customs, fertility rites, or curing sickness. They may be used on festive occasions or to portray characters in a dramatic performance and in re-enactments of mythological events. They may be used for warfare and as protective devices in certain sports. They are also employed as architectural ornaments.
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