Peoples & Societies


The Dan peoples are part of the Mande linguistic group and live in northeast Liberia and the neighboring areas of Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea. Farmers and warriors, the Dan have no central authority; rather, they live in independent villages made up of different clans grouped around a chief. Secret societies are important to the organization of Dan society, especially the Poro society, which is common to all ethnic groups of the region. Masks are perhaps the most important works of art created by the Dan. Artists also carve figural sculpture and spoons and make pottery.

Adapted from

Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 301.

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