Mask (Zamble)

Face mask with stylized face and horns of an antelope and open jaws of a leopard. Forehead has three sets of scarifcation marks in relief; hairline is incised with pigmented linear and geometric patterns; striped horns curve naturally from top of head; eyes are set in ovoid grounds of white kaolin; top of snout shows incised V-shaped marks; mask is predominantly brown with traces of green, red and yellow pigment; chew stick in back shows some wear.
Artist Unknown, African, Guro Peoples Côte D'Ivoire
Zamble is a mythical creature who usually appears with his beautiful wife, Gu, and his brutish and rambunctious brother, Zauli. In Guro thought, this ensemble possesses great power to detect harm, settle disputes, and to negotiate between the worlds of the wilderness and the village. They dance only at the most important festivals or at funerals of family members who were entrusted with their care. Zamble is a composite creature comprised of the fine facial features of a gazelle and the jaws of the leopard, a fitting visual metaphor for the grace and power of the male youth and vigor he is meant to evoke.
Museum purchase made possible by gifts from of David L. Chambers and John G. Crane and Dr. James and Vivian Curtis
Saturday, August 13, 2022