The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Masquerades Among the Dan People

by William Siegmann (1943 - 2011)
Formerly The Brooklyn Museum

Two kagle masks and deangle, Dan artist, Liberia. February 1986. Photo by William Siegmann.

Masks are the most important art form in Dan culture. They are relatively numerous and every village has several. Even when the face portions are similar the masked spirits they represent have very distinct personalities and roles in the community.  Conversely, masks with similar functions may have very different appearances. The two masks on the left are examples of a type called kagle. They perform in a similar pattern and have similar costumes but have very different facial features. The mask on the left is a deangle.