African art > Mask > Guéré Mask
Guéré Mask (N° 17895)
The African mask Guéré is reputed to be a complex piece both in terms of shapes and, often, also materials. It is here devoid of accessories.
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Before the 1960s, the masks, whose elaboration was inspired by the visits of spirits during dreams, accompanied most activities such as war, dance, singing, hunting. Each of these masks had a name associated with its function. It remained the property of the dancer's lineage. The front moves here in a visor, opposing the globular volumes and hooked in the center of the face. Horn-like projections meet on the forehead and under the nose, while a narrow incision forms the mouth. Indigo and red ochre highlights, kaolin on the eyes, enhance the speckled matte patina. If this mask is given a social function, as when required by the chief to order certain works, it may also be intended to distract the villagers.
The Guéré are formining an ethnic group from a forested region along côte d'Ivoire's western border. They are part of a wider people's name of Wé which also includes the Wobé ethnic group with which the Guéré share many customs and beliefs.
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