African mask from Ivory Coast and animal symbolism in African art.
A face with fine features surmounted by an animal subject composes this African Gouro mask. The whole is painted in luminous tones. Desication crack, small chips.
Among the group of Mande from the south, in the center of Côte d'Ivoire, on the banks of the Bandama, the Gouro animists have used since the 1950s a family of masks associated at the Zaouli dance . Indeed, like the African Goli masks of the Baoulé, the set of Guro masks, relating to the geniuses of nature, comes in two zoomorphic masks followed by a third anthropomorphic, which is considered to be the wife of the mask zamblé , the Gu . The Gu , whose function is apotropaic, represents a young woman endowed with the criteria of beauty specific to the Guro, in particular the facial scarifications and the filed teeth. It is while singing in honor of the zamblé that the Gu moves gracefully, following the sound of the flute. The dancer is fully dressed in brightly colored fabrics and plant fibers in harmony with the polychromy of the mask, and performs various acrobatic feats in front of an attentive audience.
Lit. : "Gouro" A.M. BOUTTIAUX. Ed. 5Continents.
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