March 28, 2016 1 Comment
This weekend was ultra-solid as empty-nested and broken bracketed Easter weekends go. Sadly though it did begin on a low note since I was throughly priced out of a couple decent African tribal art offerings. Like any good fox however I found myself surprisingly amenable to spurning the ‘grapes’ and moving right along to more affordable fare.
‘Zakpai‘ is the fire prevention mask. Its function is to insure
that women have put out their cooking fires every day during
the dry season, before the afternoon winds begin to blow.
Zakpai is aggressive, sometimes throws things, and is
meant to inspire fear. Tall green leaves cover the head. In
addition, the masker wears pants with a ruff of raffia around
the waist and neck. It carries a branch as a weapon (Fischer
1978, 21). 
In keeping with the Dan trend my favorite dealer parted ways with this small treasure.
Masks with a large beak-like form and beard of monkey fur, often with a moveable lower jaw, are Gagon masks. Originally an educational mask instructing people on the importance of the hornbill bird to their culture, they are now used mostly for entertainment.
These pieces were part of an African Art collection from the estate of Alfred M. Prince, both the scholar, philanthropist, and the avid collector.
The following photographs were recommended for addition (thanks Ed), and are sourced (as indicated) from the topic essay titled “MASQUERADES AMONG THE DAN PEOPLE” and the PinInterest site.