Animal Mask

Guro peoples

Côte d'Ivoire

Animal Mask, n.d.

  • On View

Wood

Dimensions: 14 × 15 3/4 × 26 in. (35.6 × 40 × 66 cm)

Gift of Justice and Mrs. G. Mennen Williams, 1973.16

The Guro peoples consider animals to be a link between the human and the spiritual worlds. This mask, which is a combination of the bush cow and hyena, may have been used to protect the community from evil spirits. The horns of the bush cow represent strength, while the hyena is considered a smart and resourceful animal. A member of the Zamble Society, a Guro men’s organization, would have danced this mask in a ceremony to honor hunting and waging war. According to Guro belief a mask is capable of harnessing the power of and control over the animal it represents.

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