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Unknown Maker
Antelope Face Mask (Zamble) Antelope Face Mask (Zamble)
20th century 20th century

Zamble means devourer or ¿one who kills on behalf of his owner.¿ The Guro consider him to be an ancient male being with a sacred nature. Numerous stories emphasize zamble¿s origin in the wilderness, note his similarity to wild animals, and suggest the first masks were made to commemorate his capture and arrival in a Guro village.

Carved with delicate features, this zamble mask possesses the horns and long snout with sharp teeth, typical features of this genre. Such masks are always depicted with an open mouth, symbolizing the exhaustion of the chase that brought him to the village. Community members describe the mask as representing an antelope or a synthesis of antelope, leopard and/or crocodile, animals known for their strength, ferocity or grace.

Zamble belongs to a family of sacred masks, and often dances with a grotesque mask known as zauli and a beautiful female mask called gu. Worn by a village¿s best dancer, it can appear at burials, commemoration feasts and entertainment spectacles such as dance competitions. As the mask also functions as a sacred object, designated families own and care for it, and community members can make offerings to it for assistance or in thanksgiving. Considered to be a helper spirit for the family and village to which it belongs, zamble is viewed as potentially dangerous, with the power to deliver justice when needed.

 
Unknown Maker
Guro peoples Guro peoples
Antelope Face Mask (Zamble) Antelope Face Mask (Zamble)
20th century 20th century
wood, pigment wood, pigment
height / width / depth: 40.50 x 13.20 x 10.00 cm; 15.94 x 5.20 x 3.94 in.
Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984 Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984
M84-126

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