Guro Mask – Zaouli Dance – Côte d’Ivoire

Mid 20th century. Heavy hardwood cm. 49,5 high x cm. 19,0 width (19.48″ x 7.48″). gr. 1.208,0 (38.83 oz.).

Zaouli is a traditional dance of the Guro people of central Ivory Coast. The Zaouli mask, used in the dance, was created in the 1950s, reportedly inspired by a girl named “Djela Lou Zaouli” (meaning “Zaouli, daughter of Djela”).

Each Guro village has a local Zaouli dancer (always male), performing during funerals and celebrations. The dance is believed to increase the productivity of a village that it is performed in, and is seen as tool of unity for the Guro community, and by extension the whole country.

This mask belonged to a French collector and was acquired in the sixties.

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