Guro Mask


Ivory Coast

This is a gu mask of the Guro society. The Guro are dominated by secret societies and by a belief in protective spirits, to whom the Guro used to build shrines and create figures. Societies are responsible for social, political, and juridical questions, decisions of peace and war, policing tasks, and the detection of destructive forces. There are three types of guro masks that are used in ceremonies together. The zauli, a grotesque animal mask with long horns; the zamble, a mask with combined features of a leopard, hyena and crocodile and the gu mask which is a human face mask. The gu mask is thought to be zamble`s wife.

The gu mask has a broad, wooden collar that serves as a fixture for the raffia cloak. The hairdo is often carved in elaborate geometrical patterns, surmounted by horns or a totem animal. There are polychrome, as well as black and brown polished masks. The masks are supplemented by huge costumes of palm-frond strips or reed-grass, which completely conceal the dancer’s body. At ceremonies the zoomorphic masks are the first to appear, and they prepare the audience for the performance of the gu mask. During her performance gu moves slowly and gracefully, singing songs to honor zamble. Guro masks are used and honored during sacrificial gatherings, funerals, and celebrations.


Height : 12″ (30.5cm)