The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Masquerades Among the Dan People

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

Zo mask with its master, Dan artist, Liberia. February 1986. Photo by William Siegmann.

Each mask has a zo or “master” who is responsible for the mask and is the person who controls the occasions on which it comes out to perform. He is also responsible for the relationship with the spirit force, which inhabits the mask on such occasions. The zo of the mask is seldom the person who wears the mask, however. In this photo the deangle mask is paying it s respects to its zo, the man wearing the blue suit on the right.