African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Guro mask
Guro mask (N° 17618)
This African mask, offering a creative combination of different zoomorphic elements, is probably an entertainment mask. Its face, framed by wings, evokes a hybrid being, half animal, half human, a spirit of nature.
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Among the Mande group in the south, in central Côte d'Ivoire, on the banks of the Bandama, the Gouro are organized into lineages, and are the western neighbors of the Baoulé who have borrowed several features from their African tribal art creations. Animists, they have used since the 1950s a family of masks associated with the Zaouli dance. Indeed like the African Goli masks of the Baule, the set of Guro masks, relating to the genies of nature, comes in two zoomorphic masks followed by a third anthropomorphic one, which is considered the wife of the zamblé mask, the Gu. These masks are the property of families practicing the cult of lineage ancestors, who make ritual and sacrificial use of them in order to attract divine blessings.
Priest and diviner share the predominant ritual functions among the Guro. The secret associations worship the genies of nature, through the masks in which the spirits are supposed to reside. Their protective spirits called zuzu were worshipped through statues placed on altars. Les masques gu , gye et dye , aux mains de notables, ne sont exhibés qu'au cours de funérailles majeures ou l'intronisation d'un chef (Kerchache)
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