African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Gouro Mask
Zaouli Dance Gouro Mask (N° 19833)
African Gouro mask from central Ivory Coast.
Monoxyle sculpture offering a female face with delicate features and large eyes. At the top, a stylized construction is mixed in an aerial way with curves representing birds. It is probably an entertainment mask. The piece is lacquered with a vivid polychromy.
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Among the group of Mande from the south, in central Côte d'Ivoire, on the banks of the Bandama, the Gouro are organized into lineages, and are the western neighbors of the Baoulé who have borrowed several characteristics from their 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 Baoulé, the set of Guro masks, relating to the geniuses of nature, comes in two zoomorphic masks followed by a third anthropomorphic one, which is considered the wife of the zamblé mask, the Gu. The Gu,or Lu, whose function is apotropaic, represents a young woman endowed with the criteria of beauty peculiar to the Guro, in particular the facial scarifications 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 fully clothed in brightly colored cloth and plant fibers in harmony with the polychromy of the mask, and performs various acrobatic feats before an attentive audience. According to the authors Fisher and Homberger in "Art of the Ivory Coast", as soon as a mask seems to no longer arouse the interest of the public, it is abandoned for a new copy.
Ref : "Guro", A.M. Bouttiaux ; ed. 5Continents.
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