Lot: 184

Anthropomorphic face mask "gu"

Côte d'Ivoire, Guro

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Joseph ("Joe") Greenberg (1923-2007), Melbourne, Australia (acquired between 1940-70 in Europe, possibly London)

Joe Greenberg was a leading Australian graphic designer whose career spanned five decades. Open to all forms of artistic expression, he and his wife Veronika amassed a large collection of paintings, sculptures, artefacts and curiosities that filled every available corner of their home. His particular fascination was religious art. From Christian works to Hindu paintings and manuscripts, his collection also included cult figures and masks from various African tribal traditions.
H: 15.4 inch 4500 EUR / 9000 EUR

wood, red paint, missing parts on the back, base

A comparable mask from the Maurice Nicaud Collection published in AHDRC 0060162.

"Gu" is a female being and is always carved "uanya iri nya", i. e. according to the image of "a beautiful woman". Her hair is tied up in a bunch, a high chignon adorned with amulet pouches around it, a hairstyle that high-ranking Guro women used to wear.

"Gu" is considered the wife of the mask-being "zamble" and together with his brother "zauli" they form one mask family.


Exotica Gallery, "Africa in Sculpture", p. 89, exhibit 175, Melbourne 1981 Exhibited:

Melbourne, Australia, Exotica Gallery, May 1981