The beauty of the face is an important criterion which reflects the benevolence of the spirit. The Dan artists know to compare their work together, resulting in a corpus of masks of a remarkable diversity. The uses are varied from dance to altar but the details of the rites are not well known.
Helena Rubinstein had assembled an extensive collection of African art, with a predilection for the quality of the face that matches the professional interests of this outstanding businesswoman of the cosmetics. A Dan mask that had belonged to her is estimated $ 1M for sale by Christie's in New York on May 12, lot 603.
This mask has some features that are perhaps unique in their kind. Under the classic rounded forehead, the triangular shaped lower face is abundantly pierced, bringing to this piece of wood the like of a weaving. The holes were used for hanging ornaments or cloth but their arrangement on this wrinkled face is weird and unusual. A very long braid hanging from the chin gives to the face of this ancestor the appearance and probably the role of an elderly man.
Helena Rubinstein scrupulously annotated her collection. The information that this piece came from the Danane region in Ivory Coast was certainly collected at the time of her acquisition and is credible.