Lot: 260

87th Tribal Art Auction

Zoomorphic mask "zamble"

Côte d'Ivoire, Guro

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Emil Storrer, Zurich, Switzerland H: 16.3 inch 4000 EUR
plus 21 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, matt blackish brown patina, red, white and indigo blue pigment, of characterstic form and colouring, crowned by elegant curved antelope horns, slightly dam., abrasion of paint. There are different versions about the origin of the mask-being of "zamble". All these narratives clearly indicate that "zamble" comes from the wilderness, and possesses characteristics of the leopard, the antelope and (mentioned only once) the crocodile. Moreover they show that "zamble" was captured by a Guro hunter from the local forest and that this hunter eventually had to pay for owning "zamble" with the death of his mother. In any case these details lead to the conclusion that "zamble" has long been part of Guro culture and was not taken over from neighbouring ethnic groups. "Zamble", "gu" and "zauli" are considered helper or tutelary spirits for the whole village where they are settled. "Zamble" has to perform when someone important from the clan had died, or if an affair of the village or an important family has to be given particular emphasis.

Fischer, Eberhard, Guro, Masks, Munich, Berlin, London, New York 2008, p. 168