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Bruce Frank Primitive Art
208 W 83rd St NYC
+1 212 579 3596

Miniature Mask

Dan tribe, Liberia
Early 20th century

Provenance: Collected in the 1970’s by an American Peace Corp. volunteer stationed in Liberia. Private California collection

This miniature Dan mask is called a Ma Go, meaning « small head ». Designed to be a reproduction of a larger clan or family mask, it is an important means of identification for its owner during travels, hence the name « passport mask ». It was probably kept in a small piece of cloth, rubbed in oils and sacrificial matter which patinated its surface, sharing the force of the full-size mask to protect its bearer.

Miniature Mask

Dan tribe, Liberia
Early 20th century

Provenance: Collected in the 1970’s by an American Peace Corp. volunteer stationed in Liberia. Private California collection

This miniature Dan mask is called a Ma Go, meaning « small head ». Designed to be a reproduction of a larger clan or family mask, it is an important means of identification for its owner during travels, hence the name « passport mask ». It was probably kept in a small piece of cloth, rubbed in oils and sacrificial matter which patinated its surface, sharing the force of the full-size mask to protect its bearer.