Small West African mask

Guro, Ivory Coast
Guro, Ivory Coast

Q:  Could you please help identify this clay and raffia mask? It measures 15″ including the beard. Thanks very much!  Karen, 735

A: Could be from the Guro people of Ivory Coast. I think it shows well, with beautiful colors and a patina that seems old and used. But it is a little small and is made out of clay rather than wood.  The bad news is that I can’t find a mask that looks exactly like this, nor can I be sure the patina was caused by years of repeated usage. Most African masks we see have been artificially aged to make them more attractive to buyers. I’m sure this little mask was made to be a decorative art item for tourists.  B

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