Face Mask

Guro peoples, Ivory Coast

Wood and beads

Gift of Universal Electric

8 x 27.5 x 6.25 in

In the past, Guro sacred masks were worn by the highest authority in Guro society and had the power to dispense justice, influence important decisions and declare peace. Nowadays, most masks are worn for the pure pleasure of dance and entertainment. Such festive masks do not receive sacrifices and have no protective function; but they are still meant to be innovative and striking. This elegant face mask belongs to a category of masks that serve to re-enact mythical events during celebrations of a clan. It is probably a female mask that would have been worn with ankle rattles and danced in a restrained style to vocal and flute music, as a counterpart to a male antelope mask.

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