Among the Dan people, forest spirits are embodied during masquerades so as to maintain social order. Spirits appear in dancers’ dreams and reveal the masks, costumes and dances that will bring them to life. There is no precise connection between the form of the wooden mask and its function, as the spirit takes shape during the performance. Once a mask is separated from its costume and torn away from its original context, it is often difficult to identify its exact role. According to the Dan sculptor Tompieme, there is a distinction between peaceful masks, like this one, with delicate features (an oval-shaped face and fine slits for the eyes) and aggressive masks with exaggerated ones.