About the Yaure People
“The Yaure people, 20,000 in total, settled in the territory between the Baule to the west, the Guro to the east and Lake Kossou to the north. They are divided into three main groups living in approximately twenty villages by a council of elders, leads each village. Their language, culture, religion and art are influenced by their powerful neighbors, the Baule and the Guro. Nevertheless, they possess a strong sense of identity and have evolved a characteristic and refined art.
The Yaure adorn a variety of everyday objects with figurative representations, but it is their masks that reveal their artistic abilities.
Yaure masks symbolize the ‘yu’ or spirit power. They have an elongated face with a protruding mouth and pierced semi-circular eyes set under a high forehead. An elaborate plaited coiffure parted on each side, with horns or birds at the end, completes the image, while the outline of the mask is characteristically surrounded by a serrated edge.
Yaure masks are worn predominantly on two occasions: the Je celebration and the Lo ceremony. The first purifies the village after a death and helps deceased’s soul on its way to its final resting place. Painted masks are mainly worn by dancers during this ceremony, while for the Lo ceremony, masks covered with black pigments appear. The function of each type of mask is not rigidly fixed, which leads to their appearance during either ceremony.”
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.
Dave Dahl—CEO Discover African Art
Keywords: Yaure, Baule, Guro, DRC, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mask