Product Description

Item: #3532

Tribe: Guro

Country: Cote d’Ivoire

Material: Wood, paint.

Size: 20″ (50 cm) Tall

Condition: Good

Provenance: Scaasi Collection.

Notes: Stand not included.

Mostly farmers, the Guro peoples of Ivory Coast (also known as the Guru or Kweni) are renowned for their rich masking traditions that feature brightly colored and vibrant masks with elaborate surmounts. These objects of joyful and sublime beauty are used in a variety of social and spiritual ceremonies. The craftsmanship of the Guro peoples embraces imageries tied to the land and to agrarian practices. This is reflected in the symbolism of the animals they feature on their masks. Guro masks are usually embedded with hidden messages of spiritual importance. Village life is mostly regulated by the Je society, male secret society.

This beautifully carved and painted Guro mask represents the spirit of Gu, the wife of Zamble; a supernatural being. Gu is often depicted as elegant, graceful, serene and beautiful. An important characteristic in Guro art is a skillful combination of human and animal forms.
Notable features on masks are obliquely placed almond-shaped eyes, rounded foreheads, finely sculptured nose and mouth with small but sprouting lips. Hairdos and headdresses are delicately sculptured and elaborate.
Of all animals, the Guro revere five: the antelope, the hyena, the leopard, the crocodile and the elephant. These are animals mostly found in the savannah and tropical forest where the 200,000-strong tribe lives. The Guro people are found in Ivory Coast; their art is closely related to those of their neighbors, the Baule’s. In fact, Guro is a Baule name; the actual indigenous name of the tribe is Kweni.

Scaasi Collection: The bulk of the collection was put together in the 1970’s from galleries in the New York area while the collector was living in Greenwich Village. His collecting continued over the years though with a piece added here and there through till the mid to late 1990’s. No documentation exists, the information is from family members.