Lot: 42

Antelope mask "glo" (Bongo antelope) of the "dye" mask ensemble

Côte d'Ivoire, Guro, Western Vavoua

Provenance Size Hammer price
Hans Himmelheber, Heidelberg, Germany
Ernst Heinrich, Stuttgart, Germany (1950)
Robert Lewitzki, Celle, Germany
H: 29.5 inch 5500 EUR

wood, pigment residues, old label: "Mask of the Guro - worn by youths at field ceremonies" - publ. Himmelheber Negerkunst und Negerkünstler"; inscribed by hand: "Gift from Dr. Dr. H. Himmelheber Heidelberg 19.6.50" ; inv.no."45" in graphite

In connection with this mask, Himmelheber reports that the Guro boys in the vicinity of Vavoua had whole sets of animal masks, "mostly with meter-long antelope horns" at their disposal, with which they appeared
when tilling the fields (Himmelheber, 1960, p. 207 f. ).


"Dye" is an ensemble of animal- and human-faced masks with impressive raffia costumes found among the southern and western (central) Guro.

In a "dye" mask performance animal masks appear first. Acting as a kind of vanguard for the anthropomorphic masks, they are said to "prepare the dancing area".

In addition to the dog, hippopotamus, goat and buffalo the animal masks represent an astonishing variety of different types of antelopes, which can be distinguished according to the length and shape of their horns.

The animal masks, in general, and the antelopes, in particular, were keenly awaited, especially when the wearer was known to be a skilled dancer; their costumes of swirling fibres made their dance even more spectacular.


Fischer, Eberhard, Guro, Masks, Munich, Berlin, London, New York 2008, 85 ff.
Himmelheber, Hans, Negerkunst und Negerkünstler, Würzburg 1960, p. 207, ill. 155; Expo cat.: "Afrikanische Kunst, Sammlung Robert Lewitzki", Albert-König-Museum (Hg.), Unterlüß, 2001, p. 30, cat. 43; Expo cat.: "Afrikanische Kunst, Sammlung Robert Lewitzki", Bomann-Museum (Hg.), Celle 2012, p. 43 Exhibited:

Unterlüß, Albert-König-Museum: "Afrikanische Kunst, Sammlung Robert Lewitzki", 11. März - 16. April 2001; Celler Schloß, Gotische Halle: "Afrikanische Kunst, Sammlung Robert Lewitzki", 10. Juli - 31 August 2012