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Guro African Mask w/ Two-Headed Snake on Mount 16″ – Ivory Coast

$195.00 $97.50

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Type of Object

Mask

Country of Origin

Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)

Ethnicity

Guro or Gouro

Approximate Age

Unknown—1970’s?

Height (Inches)

16”

Width (Inches)

8”

Depth (Inches)

8”

Weight (Pounds)

2.5lbs

Overall Condition

Tribe Information

About the Guro People

“Between the Baule and the Yaure to the west, the Malinke to the north and the Bete and We to the south, the Guro people live surrounded by savannah and forest. They migrated from the north during the 16th century and number about 200,000. Originally they were called Kweni, but they were violently colonized between 1906 and 1912 and were given the Baule name Guro by the invading French colonials. Guro villages have rounded houses in the northern area and rectangular houses in the southern region. Village life is regulated by a council of elders, representing each main family, and by secret societies. The Guro farm predominantly cotton, rice, coffee and cocoa - the men clear the fields and the women plant. “

Sources:
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.

Additional Information

About the Beduo Mask with figurative attachments

We know of a number of Guro face masks with a small decorative superstructure and a wooden rim that is bulky enough to distinguish them from the gu or zuhu mask genres, but not large enough to classify them as kpan masks of the goli ensemble. It is likely that these masks were used with a heavy headgear, probably of raffia fibers or with a feather crown attached at the back. For convenience sake, I propose to classify them as beduo masks, a term listed by Benoist, who states that these masks are used for entertainment and can thus be seen by all villagers.
I ascribe to this category of Guro masks all multicolored, egg-shaped face masks with a small, toothless mouth, pointed nose without nostrils, eye-slits, and a bulging forehead with a high, M-shaped hairline. They may be surmounted by antelope horns, a pair of plaited horns as an extravagant coiffure(₁), or even a full female figure(₂). These masks are all carved from soft and spongy wood, prevalent in the forest area. Many of them were collected in the village of Zarefla north of Daloe between 1950 and 1960. I therefore assume that their carvers lived in the southwestern Guro region and that these masks were in use a few decades earlier.
These beduo masks are somewhat related to the earlier group of small black gu masks (though the latter are carved from much harder, heavier wood), because they have a similarly heavy block rim with no holes to fix any cloth around their circumference. These slender masks, with simplified human faces devoid of scarification marks, boast white, elongated antelope ears and straight or sickle-shaped horns, and may even have a small bird sculpture in the center(₃&₄). They sometimes sport a zigzag band along their contour, similar to works of the Buafle master and the circle of carvers influenced by him. Since this is generally considered a feature common to Yohure masks, it may indicate that these beduo masks were carved in the eastern environs of Buafle.

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