Ivory Coast, Dan People
20th Century
Boca Raton Museum of Art

Dan People, also called Gio or Yakuba, is an ethno-linguistic group inhabiting the mountainous west-central Ivory Coast and adjacent areas of Liberia. Dan masks were made for a tremendous variety of purposes with each having its own name and representing a spirit that appeared to the mask's owner in a dream. The way in which the mask is used can change over the years and is closely linked to the achievements and experiences of its owner. The costume, which covers the entire body, and the accessories best convey the significance and prestige of a mask. The round eyes are generally considered to indicate an aggressive nature and possible male spirit, while slit eyes, as seen here, are generally considered female.

Lesson Plans

Mask Dan Ivory Coast
Lesson Plan (K-5):
Lesson Plan (6-8):


Ivory Coast, Dan People

Mask, Ivory Coast, Dan People, wood, cowry shells, feathers and textile, 18 1/2 x 12 x 12 in., Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hy Klebanow, 2000.278