African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Gurunsi figurines
Gurunsi figurines (N° 16701)
Less famous for their statues than for their masks, the Gurunsi used statues depicting ancestors for divination or that were simply placed on altars to be honored. This sober sculpture, with a satin patina that oil anointings have helped to shine, is distinguished by its broad shoulders extending from arms spread out of the bust and small digitized palms. It is devoid of scarifications and adornments. Missing on one of the feet.
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On a religious level, the Gurunsi believe in a higher being, Yi, who retired from the world after creating it and whose altar occupies the center of the village. Yi sent, to represent him, the Su spirit, embodied in all masks and honored by an altar. Among the Gourunsi, the Lela , Winiama , Nuna and Nunuma are the main mask sculptors. They influenced the style and meaning of the masks of their neighbors Mossi and Bwa. The magical sculptures of the Gurunsi, supposed to protect them, are housed in boxes designed for this purpose. The function of the elder of the clan, in addition to sacrifices and ceremonies, was to look after them.
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