African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Zaouli Mask
Zaouli Dance Gouro Gu Mask (N° 13696)
African art Gouro.
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Monoxyle tribal sculpture made in dense wood, it takes the form of a thin feminine face, lacquered in a deep red, topped with two streaked shells accompanied by a volatile figure at the top. A lacquer of contrasting colours has given this African Gouro mask a smooth and shiny surface. Among the group of Mande from the south, in central Côte d'Ivoire, the Gouro have been using a family of African masks associated with the dance Zaouli since the 1950s. Like the Goli masks of the Baoulé, all Guro masks come in two zoomorphic masks followed by a third anthropomorph, which is considered the wife of the mask zamblé , the Gu . The Gu , whose function is apotropaic, represents a young woman with the criteria of beauty specific to Guro, especially facial scarifications and lime teeth. It is by singing in honour of the zamblé that the Gu, following the sound of the flute, moves gracefully. The dancer is fully clothed in brightly coloured fabrics and plant fibres in harmony with the polychromy of the mask, and performs various acrobatic feats in front of an attentive audience.
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