African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Gurunsi mask
Gurunsi mask (N° 21947)
Among the various tribal masks of the nunuma , a gurunsi tribe living on the banks of the Black Volta, this African animal mask features a guinea fowl, engraved with faintly polychrome motifs evoking plumage. Wooden tenons, arranged on the contours, form excrescences.
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Among the Gurunsi, the Lela, Winiama, Nuna and Nunuma are the main mask carvers. They influenced the style and meaning of the masks of their neighbors Mossi and Bwa.
These African masks depicting spirits of the bush came out during ritual dances and were worn by members of the village equipped with integral plant fiber outfits that covered the body. The tribal ritual was supposed to bring fertility and prosperity to the village, provided it was performed correctly. These masks were also used during funeral ceremonies of notables, to celebrate passages of initiation grades or simply for entertainment.