Masquerades Among the Dan People

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

Mask, Dan peoples, Liberia. February 1986. Photo by William Siegmann.

A kagle mask rouses the people of a town by its erratic, aggressive behavior. Kagle masks may have one of several face types though all are aggressive in appearance. The performance style and headdress rather than the features of the face give the mask its name. It takes that name from the ka (hooked sticks) that it carries and often hurls at its audience during its wild and energetic performance.  The disruptive nature of the performance, which consciously violates cultural norms, serves a social function by teaching the value of order and discipline through its negative example.