African art > African mask > Gouro Mask
Zaouli Dance Gouro Gu Mask (N° 19274)
African Gouro mask from the center of Ivory Coast .
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A majestic crest depicting a bird with outstretched wings surmounts a female face wearing sheep horns. A smiling, almost mocking physiognomy for this polychrome mask enhanced with black.
Among the group of the Mande from the south, in the center of Ivory Coast, on the banks of the Bandama, the Gouro are organized in lineages, and constitute the western neighbors of the Baoulé who borrowed several characteristics from their creations. Animists, they use since the 50's a family of masks associated with the Zaouli dance. Indeed like the African Goli masks of the Baoule, the set of Guro masks, related to the geniuses of nature, is declined in two zoomorphic masks followed by a third anthropomorphic, which is considered as the wife of the mask zamblé, the Gu. The Gu , whose function is apotropaic, represents a young woman endowed with the beauty criteria of the Guro, in particular facial scarification and filed teeth. It is while singing in honor of the Zamblé that the Gu moves gracefully, following the sound of the flute. The dancer is completely covered with brightly colored fabrics and vegetal fibers in harmony with the polychromy of the mask, and performs various acrobatic feats in front of an attentive audience. According to the authors Fisher and Homberger in "Art of the Ivory Coast", as soon as a mask no longer seems to arouse the interest of the public, it is abandoned for a new one.
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