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Guro Female Portrait Mask Stylized Ivory Coast African Art

$275.00
Product #: 91138
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Title Guro Female Portrait Mask Stylized Ivory Coast African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Cote d'Ivoire
People Baule
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age Second half 20th century
Dimensions 12.5 inches H. x 6.75 inches W.
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use. We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair worn patina, chipped eye, chips in rim at back, cracks


 Additional Information:  A beautiful Guro portrait mask with a female face painted in white and charaterized by a finial long nose, a pursued mouth , and the eyes in the form of coffee-beans. 


 The exaltation of the feminine permeates Guro society, and their arts reflect this.  This mask represents a female character or a mature women known as Gu.Gu is considered as the wife of a supernatural creature called "Zamble." Zamble masks are carved in the general shape of an antelope head, but features of other important totem animals are also incorporated, like the crocodile and hyena. During the performance Gu mask dances after her male partner, the zoomorphic mask called Zamble. Gu mask is known for her majestic attitude in a graceful manner when dancing. Her songs honor her partner, the Zamble. Masks from the Guro are used in a variety of ceremonies, usually related to one of the many secret societies. Guro masks remain extremely popular with collectors.


The Guro have lived in the western Cote D'Ivoire for generations, having arrived from the north perhaps 700 years ago. They are from Mande stock, unlike their Akan neighbors. The Guro were originally known as the "Kweni," but during the brutal colonization by the French between 1906 and 1912 they were assigned the Baule name "Guro." They exist primarily by farming cocoa, coffee and cotton, although more recently many Guro men and women have fled their traditional villages to join in the hunt for diamonds, which have recently been discovered up and down the west coast of Africa, including Cote d'Ivoire. These diamond fields operate in virtual anarchy, and resemble in some ways the Gold Rush of the 1840's in the United States. While a few might make a living, or perhaps strike it rich, the majority end up either broke or exploited, so many of the miners eventually give up and return to their villages.

Recommended Reading:Iris Hahner-Herzog, Maria Keckkesi, and Lazlo Vadja, AFRICAN MASKS FROM THE BARBIER-MUELLER, 1998 COLLECTION.; Jacques Kerchache et al, ART OF AFRICA by Kerchache et al, and Susan Vogel, BAULE. AFRICAN ART WESTERN EYES


I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.