African art > Mask > Gurunsi Mask

Gurunsi Mask (N° 13547)

Ex-African collection Aidara.
Flet with tufts of hair and featuring a bird figure leaning between the globular eyes, this tribal mask of gurunsi is regularly incised with geometric patterns raised with kaolin. These globular-eyed African masks, depicting spirits from the bush, came out during ritual dances and were worn by village members wearing full-bodied plant-fibre outfits that covered the body. The ritual was to bring fertility and prosperity to the village, provided it was properly accomplished. These masks were also used during funeral ceremonies of notables, to celebrate passages of initiation grades or simply for entertainment. It was during a two-week initiation that young boys were introduced to the secrecy of masks and the meaning of their motifs. Religiously, the Gurunsi believe in a higher being, Yi, who retired from the world after creating it and whose altar occupies the center of the village. Yi sent, to represent him, the Su spirit, embodied in all masks and honored by an altar. Among the Gourunsi, Lela, Winiama, Nuna and Nunuma are the main mask sculptors. They influenced the style and meaning of the masks of their neighbors Mossi and Bwa.  

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OriginEx-collection Aidara
EthnyGurunsi
Countryburkina faso
Material(s)wood, metal, crin
Height43
Width29
Weight1.55 Kg
Estimated datingmid - xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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