Tribal art > African mask > Masque Gurunsi
Masque Gurunsi (N° 16688)
Combined with the magical power of the calao, this Gurunsi tribal mask decorated with geometric patterns combines a bifid beak with a rectangular panel marked with a cruciform embossed pattern at the top. White, burgundy and black clay polychromy.
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These globular-eyed African masks, depicting spirits from the bush, came out during ritual dances and were worn by village members wearing full-length plant-fibre outfits. The ritual was to bring fertility and prosperity to the village, provided it was properly accomplished. These masks were also used during funeral ceremonies of notables, to celebrate passages of initiation grades or simply for entertainment. It was during a two-week initiation that young boys were introduced to the secrecy of masks and the meaning of their motifs. Religiously, the Gurunsi believe in a higher being, Yi, who retired from the world after creating it and whose altar occupies the center of the village. Yi sent, to represent him, the Su spirit, embodied in all masks and honored by an altar. Among the Gourunsi, or Gurunsi, Lela, Winiama, Nuna and Nunuma are the main mask sculptors. They influenced the style and meaning of the masks of their neighbors Mossi and Bwa.
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