Guro Maternity Figure

  • Tribe: Guro
  • Origin: Ivory Coast
  • Approx Age: Mid 20th Century
  • Materials: Wood
  • Dimensions cm: 61
  • Ref. Number: 0858
£675.00

Beautiful and rare Guro Maternity Figure with a stunning symmetry. This wonderful figure comes from the village of Zenoula south west of the Ivory Coast. Previous to having a stand this lovely maternity figure will have spent some of its life simply lying down on its back which is shown by the very visible wear marks to the back of the figure. Usual and very typical satisfactions to its face, neck, shoulders and around the waist. Sadly it has lost part of one foot and total loss of the other due to old insect invasion ? Lovely styled infant to the rear of the figure with partially encrusted patina over the whole figure. A figure such as this would be made for the purpose of ensuring protection for the baby from things such as illness and to help promote wellbeing.

Agrandir
Guro traditional chief sitting in state holding his traditional staff of authority. Kindly observe the artistic carving of the staff that show Guro secret elements. By nabilzorkot

 

Guro, also spelled Gouro, also called Kweni, people of the Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), in the valley regions of the Bandama River; they speak a language of the Mande branch of the Niger-Congo family of African languages. The Guro came originally from the north and northwest, driven by Mande invasions in the second half of the 18th century.Although formerly the major male occupation was hunting, the Guro are now basically agriculturists whose subsistence crops include plantains, rice, and yams; their cash crops include coffee, cocoa, and cotton. They practice shifting cultivation, men clearing the fields and women doing most of the other work. Some of their communal fields were being replaced by industrial plantations in the late 20th century. In the southern part of the Guro people’s territory, arboriculture includes palm-wine extraction; in the north, kola oil and nuts are traded for dried fish from the Niger. The exchange of subsistence goods at markets is usually carried out by women; other items are traded by men.

Villages are composed of several patrilineges, the basic social and economic units of Guro society. They are headed by their eldest members, who form a village council. In traditional Guro society there was no office of village chief, but a distinguished lineage head was recognized as preeminent; he was consulted in settling disputes and represented the village to outsiders.

The Guro retain their own religion, involving many cults and deities. An earth master makes sacrifices to the earth for the benefit of the village and its inhabitants. Each village also has a diviner who is consulted before important decisions are made.

The art of the Guro is distinguished by extreme refinement. The Baule and Guro styles are difficult to separate. The Guro style, however, has one or two distinguishing marks: the face of the human mask is usually longish while the forehead and bridge of the nose form an elegant S-shaped profile. The tattoo pattern cut in relief on forehead and cheeks is a repetition of the short protruding tattoo marks on the men’s faces, and another characteristic of many Guro masks is the broad, wooden collar that serves as a fixture for the raffia cloak. There are polychrome, as well as black and brown polished masks. There is a much stronger tendency than with the Baule to add animal features to the human face – elephant’s ears, or a superstructure in the shape of a cockerel’s or other bird’s head. The hairdo is often carved in elaborate geometrical patterns, surmounted by horns or a totem animal. In some the nose forms an animal-like beak. Rather well known is the zamble mask combining the features of hyena, crocodile (or leopard) and antelope. Most of them are polychrome. There are also human masks with long horns and a superstructure in the form of one or two human figures. The masks are supplemented by voluminous, multipartite costumes of palm-frond strips or reed-grass, which completely conceal the dancer’s body. At ceremonies the Je animal masks are the first to appear, and they prepare the audience for the performance of the more powerful, anthropomorphic figures.                                                           Information taken from: Zyama.com

Image result for guro masks