Lot: 12

99th Auction

Anthropomorphic face mask

Côte d'Ivoire, Yaure

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
German Private Collection H: 16.1 inch sold

wood, dull reddish brown patina, pigments,

Mask with extremely finely modeled face, crowned by a small attachment with Janus heads, which show equally fine physiognomies.

Typical Yaure are the patterned eyebrows. The jagged border that usually frames the masks has been replaced by a smooth rim. The elaborate hairstyle, arranged in three semicircles, is equally found on the Baule.

Yaure masks are considered emblems of the "yu" spirits. As such, they are very dangerous and must be handled with extreme care. The sight of them is strictly forbidden to women.

In particular, a death that jeopardizes the social order requires their appearance. Two groups of masks "je" and "lo" appear. The dance of one group purifies the village and helps the soul of the deceased on its way into the ancestral realm. The other group appears during the actual funeral ceremonies "lo". However, the function of each type of mask is not rigidly fixed, which leads to their appearance during either ceremony.