Lot: 46

Helmet mask "gye"

Côte d'Ivoire, Guro

Provenance Size Hammer price
Private Collection, Alsace, France H: 20.1 inch sold

wood, colour pigments,

"Gye" is considered the most important and powerful mask of the northern Guro. It can show features of different animals. In this case, the lateral tusks of the wild boar "goonani" are placed like a frame around the animal's face and are complemented by large spoon-like ears and human facial features.

"Gye" masks are always male. They are considered wild, are supposed to instil fear and must not be seen by women. For all Guro, "gye" is a (sacred) cult object ("yu") that is the property of a certain family for which it has a protective function.

The large "gye" mask figure appears mainly at important funeral festivities. She wears a luxuriant costume of raffia strips that covers her entire body. The appearance of the imposing figure is accompanied by the sounds of a bullroarer.

Fischer, Eberhard & Lorenz Homberger, Afrikanische Meister, Kunst der Elfenbeinküste, Zürich 2014, p. 43, ill. 38 Fischer, Eberhard & Lorenz Homberger, Die Kunst der Guro, Elfenbeinküste, Zürich 1985, p. 121ff.

ADHRC: 0203085