Elephant Face Mask

Guro peoples

Côte d'Ivoire

Elephant Face Mask, n.d.

  • On View

Polychromed wood

Dimensions: 28 × 12 1/2 in. (71.1 × 31.8 cm)

Gift of Justice and Mrs. G. Mennen Williams, 1973.15

The masks of the Guro people are distinguished by extreme refinement. While the function of this mask is unknown, in many African cultures zoomorphic masks represent the spirit of the animal, and while wearing the mask a dancer harnesses the power of the animal portrayed. Interpretation of the elephant varies throughout Africa, some cultures focus on the animal’s strength, its intelligence and memory, or its loyalty and group cooperation. The elephant is rarely seen in Guro art, therefore this mask’s motif is likely borrowed from the tradition of a neighboring people.

Image Permissions

Explore Related Objects


Antelope Mask (Zamble), n.d.
Guro peoples

Polychromed wood
1973.14


Animal Mask, n.d.
Guro peoples

Wood
1973.16


George II Oval Cake Basket, 1742
Paul de Lamerie

Silver
1984.23


Rinaldo Prevents the Suicide of the Despairing Armida, ca.1633-1637
Simon Vouet

Wool and silk (modern cotton lining)
2005.124.10


Armida Flees the Field of Battle, ca. 1633-1637
Simon Vouet

Wool and silk (modern cotton lining)
2005.124.9


Armida, the Sorceress, Calls Upon the Powers of Magic to Avenge Her Loss, ca. 1633-1637
Simon Vouet

Wool and silk (modern cotton lining)
2005.124.8


Rinaldo and His Companions Leave the Enchanted Isle, ca. 1633-1637
Simon Vouet

Wool and silk (modern cotton lining)
2005.124.7


Rinaldo Views His Image in the Diamond Shield, ca. 1633-1637
Simon Vouet

Wool and silk (modern cotton lining)
2005.124.6