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Unknown Maker
Face Mask with Goat Horns (Konon Buene?) Face Mask with Goat Horns (Konon Buene?)
unknown date unknown date

Masquerades are performed for many reasons in Guro communities. There are significant religious ones, the most notable being ones for the sacred forest creatures zamble, zauli and gu, and there are ones used for entertainment. The dancers of almost all masquerades are men, even when masquerading a female character, such as gu. Legends state that long ago women offended the spiritual entities, so it is believed that because of this snub, it is dangerous for women or children to come into contact with the masks.

This mask can possibly be categorized as Konon Buene, because it has the attributes of a goat. The Konon Buene mask type is one worn in the Goli masquerade, performed at burial ceremonies of adult males. The goat horns could also indicate that this mask is Glà-bhoi, a stubborn goat character created by keepers of the zamble cult. This being represents a power that needs to be tamed, as evidenced in its rude behavior: it begs for food, butts audience members with its horns, and makes lewd sexual gestures. Alternatively, because of the feminine face it could also be gu, the graceful wife of zamble. This is possible because it exhibits common features of Guro idealized female beauty, specifically, the long narrow face, the bulging forehead, the long pointed nose, and prominent coiffure. It is difficult to say the purpose of this mask, but the elegance in the face suggests that it is likely not Glà-bhoi. This difficult attribution emphasizes the importance of seeing the full costume and performance for each mask, because if we had even one of these elements then this mask’s purpose would be clear.

The Guro language has no word for a mask as an object, for it is seen as a living entity. The masquerader expresses specific physical and expressive mannerisms that are consistently performed from one year to the next. The combination of mask, costume and dance brings the spirit to life, which is true of many West African masking traditions.

 
Unknown Maker
Guro peoples Guro peoples
Face Mask with Goat Horns (Konon Buene?) Face Mask with Goat Horns (Konon Buene?)
unknown date unknown date
wood wood
height / width / depth: 32.80 x 12.20 x 9.40 cm; 12.91 x 4.80 x 3.70 in.
Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984 Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984
M84-404

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