The 350,000 Dan occupy the wooded savannah region of western Cote d’Ivoire and the east of Liberia; one also finds a few Dan villages in southeast Guinea. Traditionally cultivators of rice and manioc, the Dan also work immense cacao and coffee plantations. They also live off game hunting and fishing. Every Dan village is under the authority of a chief and a council of elders. In order to attain adult status, all the boys and girls of the same age group undergo an initiation that includes specific teaching and circumcision for the former and the latter.
Dan figures with babies on the back which were commissioned by powerful chiefs as three-dimensional portraits of their favorite spouse function as maternity figures. The statues are not representation of ancestors or spirits. These statues are kept hidden inside houses and are only revealed during important occasions.
These were prestige items and owners charged a fee for visitors to see them.
Provenance: Displayed on the Museum Site since 1998