Painted Guro Mami Wata Mask

c. 1950
$880 USD
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W: 10.5" D: 5.25" H: 22.25"
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This brightly-colored painted mask is a dance mask attributed to the Guro peoples of Côte d'Ivoire. The mask depicts Mami Wata, or "Mother of Water," a goddess of water, healing, fertility, and the ocean. A shared deity across north and west Africa, Mami Wata incorporates spiritual practices from Europe and Indian influences and is depicted in a wide range of cultural styles and art forms. A benevolent protector figure, Mami Wata constructs meaning from encounters with overseas strangers and provides a link to neighboring African cultures.

This example shows Mami Wata as a kneeling figure atop a central mask, grasping a snake in each hand. Worn over the face of a performer during dance ceremonies, the Mami Wata mask allowed the performer to act as a medium for her spirit. The mask borrows stylistic elements from Guro depictions of Gu, the beautiful wife of the mythical antelope spirit Zamble, such as the red-painted skin and the placement of the small figure.

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“PAGODA RED was extremely supportive in helping to pull accessory options together for the Lake Forest Showhouse. After providing them with details and our vision on how we were looking to finish our space, Laurene helped curate options that made it easy for us to edit and finalize. It's also no surprise that the unique pieces we used in our showhouse space were some of the first to sell.”

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