African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Zamble Mask
Mask Gouro, Guro, Zamble du Zauli (N° 19839)
Struck with prohibition, the masks of the Gyé, or Dyé, society could not be seen by women. This African mask, a sacred mask embodying a nature spirit combining animal elements suggesting leopard and antelope, is the Zamblé, a male mythical hero. Narrow and curved, it is topped here with horns. Bright polychromy. Desiccation crack .
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Among the Mande group in the south, in central Côte d'Ivoire, on the banks of the Bandama River, 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 Guro mask set, 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 owned by families practicing lineage ancestor worship, 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. The masks gu, gye and dye, in the hands of notables, were only displayed during major funerals or the enthronement of a chief (Kerchache)
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