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Some Guro masks are profitable art

Q:  I bought this mask in Ghana in 1997. Paid $50 after a bit of haggling. It’s made of wood and is 20 1/2 ” top to bottom and 7″ across. The vendor thought it was from Nigeria but I’ve not seen any similar masks from there. I did find one online with a very similar face but with ram’s horns instead of the single “spike”. There was no origin listed. Thanks for your help.  Bob, 1152

A:  Ghana borders Ivory Coast, where the Guro are one of the larger ethnic groups. Lots of masks are made there. Some are for ceremony, but most are for sale. Over the years a special style for the latter has developed. This mask is typical of that commercial style. You can see others (#1089, 977, 814 and 765) by going to our Africa archive. These masks are colorful, well carved, and seem to epitomize the West African look. The best of then can be true works of art. There are collectors and galleries that specialize in these wall sculptures, however most collectors of African art disdain them.  C

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Categories:   Africa

Comments

  • Posted: May 10, 2017 18:10

    Bob Davidson

    Thanks very much! I'm going to look into the Guro people. Sad to hear that their work is "disdained" by collectors. I'm quite fond of it. All the best, b
  • Posted: May 10, 2017 21:04

    Bob Ibold

    I'm fond of them too. Those guys are missing something good, but they feel that authenticity trumps art.

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