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YAURE MASK

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  • Ki Ki Dowd
    Greetings, This is such a wonderful group and so knowledgeable. I like this mask for its purely compositional aspects: balance, colors, elegance. Now I
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 15, 2006
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      Greetings,
       
      This is such a wonderful group and so knowledgeable.  I like this mask for its purely compositional aspects:  balance, colors, elegance.  Now I would love to know what the significance is of the birds, horns and man.  What is the significance of two sets of horns?
       
      A photograph in a photo album:  Ki Ki Dowd
      http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos/view/bc77?b=1
       
      Thak you enormously for any help!
       
      Ki Ki
       
       


      Get your own >web address for just $1.99/1st yr. We'll help. Yahoo! Small Business.
    • LRubinstein@post.harvard.edu
      Kiki: Increasingly, attempts to determine primary origins and attributions of styles in many African regions lead to the highly plausible truth that
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 22, 2006
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        Kiki:
         
        Increasingly, attempts to determine primary origins and attributions of styles in many African regions lead to the highly plausible truth that allegedly isolated cultural artistic styles of masks and figures are more accurately viewed as diverse, evolving variations arising from broader pre-existing complexes of inter-related cultures and traditions or the result of interactions among groups over time.  Masks from the central Ivory Coast from the
        YAURE, Guro and Baule provide a good example of this broadening realization.
         
        There is a wide range of often-colorful masks on the market with surmounted animal and human figures and horns -- "...human faces supplemented by animal attributes..." (Hahner-Herzog et al, p. 122) -- which are often and seemingly interchangeably identified as Guro and/or Yaure (and sometimes Baule) masks. Many masks arising from or from amidst these traditions exhibit significant skill in carving and the masterful application of pigments and paints; and the results of these efforts and artistry are often among the most easily accessible and pleasing mask styles for the collector.  However, because of the inter-influenced styles of the masks that come from all three of these Ivoirian groups, it is often difficult to identify the masks' specific origins or to delimit the particular tradition the creators of these masks seek to emulate. 
         
        From the mid-nineteenth and throughout the twentieth century, all of the cultures with which we are here concerned -- and the broader society of which they are a part -- have been drawn increasingly into the global realm through colonial interest (and anti-colonial resistance), religious (Christian and Islamic) influence, economic inter-dependence, tourism... The increasing occurrence of secular and entertainment/tourist-motivated performances in which masks are danced coupled with the export and tourist demand for these masks has prompted the production of sizable quantities of seemingly traditional (presumed or identified as traditional) masks which are in fact a new manifestation, a reincarnation of an evolving form that has transcended ritual into the realm of pure art (for commercial or art's sake).  The preponderance of these masks without traceable provenances or histories and their presentation alongside masks with possibly more of -- but unaccompanied by -- the documented experiences that might add value both as ethnographic material and collectors' bounty make it difficult to ascertain the value, significance and ultimately the identity of many masks of this class.   
         
        This difficulty in accurately attributing such masks is compounded by the fact that there is much confusion about the initial source of the primary forms which inspire them.  For instance, many sources suggest that the face masks from the region have been inspired among the Guro and Yaure by Baule mask forms, presumably because the Baule are more populous and powerful in the central region of the Ivory Coast rather than being based on any traceable historical development of the form.  However, Baule culture seems to have evolved as a synthesis of elements introduced by the influx into the central Ivory Coast of Akan/Asante peoples in the mid-18th century with an already complex inter-mingling and sharing of styles among such diverse traditions as those of the indigenous Mamla in the center (now subsumed by the larger Baule culture), the Senufo in the north, the Wan and Yaure in the west and the Guro in the southwest.  In direct contradiction to suggestions that Yaure and Guro masks have been derived from Baule masks, it seems far more probable that Baule masks were adapted from -- or at least influenced by --  the Mande-speaking Yaure and Guro who live to the west and southwest of the area where the Baule currently reside. 
         
        One observable fact that helps at least to contextualize the problem and set the field for further inquiry is the presence of Je societies within both the Guro and Yaure cultures.  In the Guro instance, the Je society acts in political, social, behavioral and religious (particularly funerary) functions and utilizes both anthropomorphic and zoomorphic masks as well as masks which combine these elements.  Among the Yaure, there exists both Je and Lo societies which are involved in similarly diverse functions and by which masks are used in rites aimed "to influence supernatural powers, or yu, that can do harm to humans but can also ensure their welfare.  "Cases of death that jeopardize the social order are the principal occasions for the appearance of masquerades.  By means of their dance, they restore the social equilibrium of the community and accompany the deceased into the ancestral realm."  (Haner-Herzog et al, p. 122).  Je masks such as the Tu bodu (Plate 38, top left, below), seemingly derived from or analagous to the Guro gu mask both in form and function, is said to represent a buffalo or some characteristics associated therewith as represented by the presence of the horns.  (The historical and formal influence of the gu upon the Baule Kpan and Kpan Pre -- and other Baule mask forms is also clearly discernible but beyond the scope of this brief consideration.)
         
        The three-lobed hair-style associated with power and prosperity among the Yaure and portrayed with delicately incised linear and geometric patterns is a recurring form in Guro and Yaure masks as well as those of the Baule.  The repetitive triangular, or zigzag, pattern found surrounding either the face or the entire head is a feature often used to distinguish Yaure masks; however, this element also appears in Baule portrait masks (mblo) and moon masks. (See Vogel's Baule:  African Art, Western Eyes, pp. 160-165).  Noting the presence of this feature in both Yaure and Baule masks, Susan Vogel suggests that another feature "patterned eyebrows [are] a more reliable marker of Yaure style than the triangulated decoration along the cheeks that the Yaure and Baule share."  (Vogel, p. 165) Of course, many of the masks pictured below which have been identified as Yaure do not demonstrate this "patterned eyebrow" feature, suggesting that the use of the presence or absence of this feature as a tool for attribution requires further investigation.
         
        Another confluence between Yaure and Baule masks involves the presence of the bird or birds surmounting face masks of this variety.  While Baule masks exhibiting this feature are rare, they do appear but far less frequently than Baule masks with a varying number of horns and other animal features.  Interestingly, though, in her description of the Yaure lomane mask from the Barbier-Mueller collection illustrated below (Plate 39 -- upper right), Hahner-Herzog provides additional information suggesting the likely circular interaction of influences between the Baule and Yaure:  "This mask type with a depiction of a hornbill, or perhaps a species of a woodpecker, is called lomane. The word derives from anoman, which means 'bird' in the Baule language and occurs in the songs which accompany the maskers' performance."  (Hahner-Herzog et al, p. 124) 
         
        Providing additional detail relevant to the consideration of the two birds atop the face mask, Hahner-Herzog continues:    "In most Yaure villages, the lomane belongs to the Je group of masks, Yet examples exist which, adorned with two bird figures, are considered part of the Lo ensemble, which appears after the Je at funerals of elderly men." [emphasis mine] (Hahner-Herzog, p.124)  It should be noted, however, that further commentary indicates significant variation of use, name and attribution to one or the other ritual society, Je or Lo vary considerably from village to village and clan to clan among the Yaure.  With regard to the mask portrayed in Plate 119 below (bottom left), the notes indicate that "The mask is called anoman when it is part of the Je group, and klomle when it belongs to the Lo group"  (To read a previous posting regarding an analogous difficulty in considering classes of Baule masks, see Message_874 .)
         
        So, this is a limited consideration which indicates the need to explore many more facets of form and detail to determine the extent to which it is indeed possible to attribute the origin or inspiration of any one of these masks to a particular individual culture or to trace conclusively the evolution of the presence of any of these features.  Based on this preliminary treatment, it would appear that specific elements may be traceable to ritual and symbolic elements of each culture but only with the understanding that there is significant variation and inter-mingling of styles and interpretations.  While it may be possible to identify the prevalence of features such as the animal features, the hairstyles, the surmounting birds, etc., it will not likely be possible to offer more than a hypothesis of the pathway of these elements within and among the three groups. 
         
        In addition to the first six masks included below from AFRICAN MASKS from the Barbier-Mueller Collection (Munich and New York:  Prestel. 1998), I have included some images below of masks that I found on-line that have been identified as Yaure.  (The final image is, in fact, a notice regarding a stolen mask.)    As mentioned in the above discussion, one might certainly question some of the attributions.  However, they provide an interesting range of masks to consider in this regard and illustrate the difficulty faced in sifting through the information and determining the correctness of attributions which have been attached.  The reliance of many collectors on these widely available images and their attached identifications further underlines the need for clearer information and consistency in attributing but also seems to indicate that without documentation of the creation and use of  any one mask, it may not be possible ever to conclude a determination of a singular identification.  On the other hand, it is inspiring that a single object can serve as a stepping stone into the exploration of so many diverse and overlapping realities --including our own -- as they relate to that object.   Lee 
         
         The Barbier-Mueller Yaure Masks (6):
         
        Barbier-Mueller Plate 38:  Face Mask
        of the Je Group (Tu Bodu),
        Yaure, Ivory Coast
        Acquired Prior to 1942.
        Height 7-7/8".
        Barbier-Mueller Plate 39:  Face Mask
        of the Je Group (Lomane)
        Yaure, Ivory Coast.
        Acquired prior to 1939.
        Height 16-7/8"
        Barbier-Mueller Plate 117:  Face Mask
        of the Je Group, Yaure, Ivory Coast.
        From the collection of Emil Storrer.
        Height 12-1/4".
        Barbier-Mueller Plate 118:  Face Mask
        of the Je Group, Yaure, Ivory Coast.
        Height 12-1/4".
        Barbier-Mueller Plate 119:  Face mask.
        (Anoman or klomle). 
        Yaure, Ivory Coast.
        Collected by Hans Himmelheber, acquired by Josef Mueller from Charles Ratton collection  in 1939.
        Height 16-1/8".
        Barbier-Mueller Plate 120:  Face Mask. Yaure, Ivory Coast.
        Height 13-5/8".
        Other On-line Images: 
         
        A LINK to the mask you queried.
         
        Two "Yaure" masks recently auctioned through Sotheby's:
        Sotheby's Lot #55 --Thursday, November 11, 2004
        A FINE YAURE MASK height 13in. 33cm of hollowed oval form, and pierced around the flange for attachment, with a delicate serrated beard pendant and encircling the smooth convex face with diminutive oval mouth and elongated, raised linear nose framed by crescent eyes pierced through and sloping to a close-cropped coiffure of stylized geometric motif overhung by three forward-projecting horns, scarification in small panels on the temples and between the eyes; varied black matte patina overall. Provenance: Carlo Monzino Collection Note: Yaure masks are extremely refined in their carving style. While many of them show elements of both humans and animals, they are part of the regalia used to gain favor of a formidable 'spirit' power through rites, offerings and sacrifices. '...the Yohure consider these masks dangerous and have subjected them to a great many taboos for fear of their tremendous power; for instance, they must never be touched outside of their ritual use (i.e. dances) , and above all, women are never allowed to see them' (Barbier 1993:110) See (ibid.:112) for a related je mask. Both masks are named bla, or ram. Amongst the Yaure the ram is one of the most powerful animals, and is considered the 'symbol of the generative force which both wakens man and the world and ensures the renewal of the life cycle, and is thought to possess a special power which resides in its skull ' (ibid). The je masks appear in a succession during the afternoon of a funeral. They do not represent specific individuals, but are homages to secondary dieties. As such, the strength implied by the ram helps to regenerate the village after a death, and to purify. Estimate - 6000-9000 Sold for $15,600
         
        Sotheby's [Paris] Lot #30 -- Tuesday, June 15, 2004
         
        A YAURE MASK, IVORY COAST haut. 32,5 cm Ce masque ancien, d'une tres belle finesse d'execution, presente un visage humain surmont‚ de deux cornes d'antilopes recourbees vers le bas. Le style est caracteristique de l'art developpe par les sculpteurs Yaure‚ (qui a fortement influence les Baule voisins) : visage ovale ceint dans sa partie inf‚rieure d'une collerette dentelee et termine par un petit tenon annele coiffure tripartite, sourcils fortement arques dont la ligne se prolonge dans un nez droit. La petite bouche prognathe, aux lŠvres serr‚es sur une langue apparente, est rehaussee de pigments blancs. Ce masque se caracterise par l'extreme finesse de ses traits et de sa gravure, en motifs geometriques sur les sourcils et la coiffe. Sa qualit‚ d'execution, l'equilibre de sa structure, sa patine lisse, brillante, … la couleur caramel sur les parties claires et la tres belle qualit‚ de la taille au revers, attestent l'anciennet‚ de ce masque. Provenance: Storrer, Zrich, 1973 Collect‚ par Emil Storrer le 8 f‚vrier 1952 dans le village de Bengebessou ( cercle de Bouafl‚). Accompagn‚ d'un certificat d'E. Storrer. Note: Selon A. Deluz (in : Corps sculpt‚s, corps par‚s, corps masqu‚s, 1992 p. 138), il s'agit d'un masque du Gy‚, repr‚sentant l'antilope goro. Ce masque possede une double signification, … la fois feminine ( secretement associe… des rites du knoe societe feminine yaure) et masculine - identite sous laquelle il est cense annoncer aux villageois le feu, et donc la guerre. Il apparait lors de ceremonies ou il allume un feu puis l'eteint en etalant les braises avant un sacrifice. Estimate - 15000-20000 Sold for 39600. 
         
        Other images of Yaure masks from various sources: 
        [Mask]

        Among the Yaure, masks are believed to possess extraordinary powers and represent spirits inhabiting the realm of nature. They are sometimes used during rites of passage, when young men wear them while dancing.

        The Yaure also use masks during funerary ceremonies. They allow the spirits of deceased people to join their ancestors in the afterlife. When ceremonies end, the Yaure return the masks to the sacred grove outside the village.

        Source:  http://www.150.si.edu/150trav/remember/r513.htm

         

        __________________________________________________________________________________________
        Identified as Yaure, but is it Baule?  Lee
        ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
         
        Masque
        Yaoure, Côte d'Ivoire
        Bois sculpté
        Début du 20ème siècle
        Hauteur : 32 cm
        Ancienne collection Aristide Courtois
        Prix : nous consulter


        Masque
        Yohoure, Ivory Coast
        Sculpted wood
        Early 20th century
        Height: 12½ in.
        Ex Collection Aristide Courtois
        Price: on request






        Information Galerie Flak
        8 rue des Beaux-Arts
        75006 Paris, France
        tel: (33) 1 46 33 77 77
        fax: (33) 1 46 33 27 57
        e-mail: contact@...

        Identified as Yaure, but could it be Guro or Baule?  Lee
         
         
        _________________________________________________________________________________________ 
         
        Yaure-MaskeClick here to see an enlargement of this image.  (It's worth the effort!)
         
         
        An extremely frequently replicated Yaure mask form. (See Kerchache, Art of Africa, Plate 67 (page 131).
        For more replicas of this form, see
        _________________________________________________________________________________________________
         
         
         
         
         
        _________________________________________________________________
         A Notice Regarding a "Missing" Yaure Mask

        Yaure Mask (Ivory Coast)
        This rare mask (size: 20 cm) was stolen from the Ethnological Museum in Munich (Völkerkundemuseum) the 22th of December 2004. The mask was collected by the German anthropologist, Hans Himmelheber, in 1934. There is a reward for the recovery of this mask.
        If you have any information, contact:
        Mr. Stefan Eisenhofer
        Curator for African Art Völkerkundemuseum, Munich
        Tel: 49 89 210136138

         
      • Ki Ki Dowd
        Lee, Thank you so much for your fabulous answer to my question. The combination of your knowledge of African art and your writing skills are impossible to
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 23, 2006
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          Lee,
           
          Thank you so much for your fabulous answer to my question.  The combination of your knowledge of African art and your writing skills are impossible to surpass.
           
          Thank you!
           
          Ki Ki Dowd
           
           
           
           
          LRubinstein@... wrote:
          Kiki:
           
          Increasingly, attempts to determine primary origins and attributions of styles in many African regions lead to the highly plausible truth that allegedly isolated cultural artistic styles of masks and figures are more accurately viewed as diverse, evolving variations arising from broader pre-existing complexes of inter-related cultures and traditions or the result of interactions among groups over time.  Masks from the central Ivory Coast from the
          YAURE, Guro and Baule provide a good example of this broadening realization.
           
          There is a wide range of often-colorful masks on the market with surmounted animal and human figures and horns -- "...human faces supplemented by animal attributes..." (Hahner-Herzog et al, p. 122) -- which are often and seemingly interchangeably identified as Guro and/or Yaure (and sometimes Baule) masks. Many masks arising from or from amidst these traditions exhibit significant skill in carving and the masterful application of pigments and paints; and the results of these efforts and artistry are often among the most easily accessible and pleasing mask styles for the collector.  However, because of the inter-influenced styles of the masks that come from all three of these Ivoirian groups, it is often difficult to identify the masks' specific origins or to delimit the particular tradition the creators of these masks seek to emulate. 
           
          From the mid-nineteenth and throughout the twentieth century, all of the cultures with which we are here concerned -- and the broader society of which they are a part -- have been drawn increasingly into the global realm through colonial interest (and anti-colonial resistance), religious (Christian and Islamic) influence, economic inter-dependence, tourism... The increasing occurrence of secular and entertainment/tourist-motivated performances in which masks are danced coupled with the export and tourist demand for these masks has prompted the production of sizable quantities of seemingly traditional (presumed or identified as traditional) masks which are in fact a new manifestation, a reincarnation of an evolving form that has transcended ritual into the realm of pure art (for commercial or art's sake).  The preponderance of these masks without traceable provenances or histories and their presentation alongside masks with possibly more of -- but unaccompanied by -- the documented experiences that might add value both as ethnographic material and collectors' bounty make it difficult to ascertain the value, significance and ultimately the identity of many masks of this class.   
           
          This difficulty in accurately attributing such masks is compounded by the fact that there is much confusion about the initial source of the primary forms which inspire them.  For instance, many sources suggest that the face masks from the region have been inspired among the Guro and Yaure by Baule mask forms, presumably because the Baule are more populous and powerful in the central region of the Ivory Coast rather than being based on any traceable historical development of the form.  However, Baule culture seems to have evolved as a synthesis of elements introduced by the influx into the central Ivory Coast of Akan/Asante peoples in the mid-18th century with an already complex inter-mingling and sharing of styles among such diverse traditions as those of the indigenous Mamla in the center (now subsumed by the larger Baule culture), the Senufo in the north, the Wan and Yaure in the west and the Guro in the southwest.  In direct contradiction to suggestions that Yaure and Guro masks have been derived from Baule masks, it seems far more probable that Baule masks were adapted from -- or at least influenced by --  the Mande-speaking Yaure and Guro who live to the west and southwest of the area where the Baule currently reside. 
           
          One observable fact that helps at least to contextualize the problem and set the field for further inquiry is the presence of Je societies within both the Guro and Yaure cultures.  In the Guro instance, the Je society acts in political, social, behavioral and religious (particularly funerary) functions and utilizes both anthropomorphic and zoomorphic masks as well as masks which combine these elements.  Among the Yaure, there exists both Je and Lo societies which are involved in similarly diverse functions and by which masks are used in rites aimed "to influence supernatural powers, or yu, that can do harm to humans but can also ensure their welfare.  "Cases of death that jeopardize the social order are the principal occasions for the appearance of masquerades.  By means of their dance, they restore the social equilibrium of the community and accompany the deceased into the ancestral realm."  (Haner-Herzog et al, p. 122).  Je masks such as the Tu bodu (Plate 38, top left, below), seemingly derived from or analagous to the Guro gu mask both in form and function, is said to represent a buffalo or some characteristics associated therewith as represented by the presence of the horns.  (The historical and formal influence of the gu upon the Baule Kpan and Kpan Pre -- and other Baule mask forms is also clearly discernible but beyond the scope of this brief consideration.)
           
          The three-lobed hair-style associated with power and prosperity among the Yaure and portrayed with delicately incised linear and geometric patterns is a recurring form in Guro and Yaure masks as well as those of the Baule.  The repetitive triangular, or zigzag, pattern found surrounding either the face or the entire head is a feature often used to distinguish Yaure masks; however, this element also appears in Baule portrait masks (mblo) and moon masks. (See Vogel's Baule:  African Art, Western Eyes, pp. 160-165).  Noting the presence of this feature in both Yaure and Baule masks, Susan Vogel suggests that another feature "patterned eyebrows [are] a more reliable marker of Yaure style than the triangulated decoration along the cheeks that the Yaure and Baule share."  (Vogel, p. 165) Of course, many of the masks pictured below which have been identified as Yaure do not demonstrate this "patterned eyebrow" feature, suggesting that the use of the presence or absence of this feature as a tool for attribution requires further investigation.
           
          Another confluence between Yaure and Baule masks involves the presence of the bird or birds surmounting face masks of this variety.  While Baule masks exhibiting this feature are rare, they do appear but far less frequently than Baule masks with a varying number of horns and other animal features.  Interestingly, though, in her description of the Yaure lomane mask from the Barbier-Mueller collection illustrated below (Plate 39 -- upper right), Hahner-Herzog provides additional information suggesting the likely circular interaction of influences between the Baule and Yaure:  "This mask type with a depiction of a hornbill, or perhaps a species of a woodpecker, is called lomane. The word derives from anoman, which means 'bird' in the Baule language and occurs in the songs which accompany the maskers' performance."  (Hahner-Herzog et al, p. 124) 
           
          Providing additional detail relevant to the consideration of the two birds atop the face mask, Hahner-Herzog continues:    "In most Yaure villages, the lomane belongs to the Je group of masks, Yet examples exist which, adorned with two bird figures, are considered part of the Lo ensemble, which appears after the Je at funerals of elderly men." [emphasis mine] (Hahner-Herzog, p.124)  It should be noted, however, that further commentary indicates significant variation of use, name and attribution to one or the other ritual society, Je or Lo vary considerably from village to village and clan to clan among the Yaure.  With regard to the mask portrayed in Plate 119 below (bottom left), the notes indicate that "The mask is called anoman when it is part of the Je group, and klomle when it belongs to the Lo group"  (To read a previous posting regarding an analogous difficulty in considering classes of Baule masks, see Message_874 .)
           
          So, this is a limited consideration which indicates the need to explore many more facets of form and detail to determine the extent to which it is indeed possible to attribute the origin or inspiration of any one of these masks to a particular individual culture or to trace conclusively the evolution of the presence of any of these features.  Based on this preliminary treatment, it would appear that specific elements may be traceable to ritual and symbolic elements of each culture but only with the understanding that there is significant variation and inter-mingling of styles and interpretations.  While it may be possible to identify the prevalence of features such as the animal features, the hairstyles, the surmounting birds, etc., it will not likely be possible to offer more than a hypothesis of the pathway of these elements within and among the three groups. 
           
          In addition to the first six masks included below from AFRICAN MASKS from the Barbier-Mueller Collection (Munich and New York:  Prestel. 1998), I have included some images below of masks that I found on-line that have been identified as Yaure.  (The final image is, in fact, a notice regarding a stolen mask.)    As mentioned in the above discussion, one might certainly question some of the attributions.  However, they provide an interesting range of masks to consider in this regard and illustrate the difficulty faced in sifting through the information and determining the correctness of attributions which have been attached.  The reliance of many collectors on these widely available images and their attached identifications further underlines the need for clearer information and consistency in attributing but also seems to indicate that without documentation of the creation and use of  any one mask, it may not be possible ever to conclude a determination of a singular identification.  On the other hand, it is inspiring that a single object can serve as a stepping stone into the exploration of so many diverse and overlapping realities --including our own -- as they relate to that object.   Lee 
           
           The Barbier-Mueller Yaure Masks (6):
           
          Barbier-Mueller Plate 38:  Face Mask
          of the Je Group (Tu Bodu),
          Yaure, Ivory Coast
          Acquired Prior to 1942.
          Height 7-7/8".
          Barbier-Mueller Plate 39:  Face Mask
          of the Je Group (Lomane)
          Yaure, Ivory Coast.
          Acquired prior to 1939.
          Height 16-7/8"
          Barbier-Mueller Plate 117:  Face Mask
          of the Je Group, Yaure, Ivory Coast.
          From the collection of Emil Storrer.
          Height 12-1/4".
          Barbier-Mueller Plate 118:  Face Mask
          of the Je Group, Yaure, Ivory Coast.
          Height 12-1/4".
          Barbier-Mueller Plate 119:  Face mask.
          (Anoman or klomle). 
          Yaure, Ivory Coast.
          Collected by Hans Himmelheber, acquired by Josef Mueller from Charles Ratton collection  in 1939.
          Height 16-1/8".
          Barbier-Mueller Plate 120:  Face Mask. Yaure, Ivory Coast.
          Height 13-5/8".
          Other On-line Images: 
           
          A LINK to the mask you queried.
           
          Two "Yaure" masks recently auctioned through Sotheby's:
          Sotheby's Lot #55 --Thursday, November 11, 2004
          A FINE YAURE MASK height 13in. 33cm of hollowed oval form, and pierced around the flange for attachment, with a delicate serrated beard pendant and encircling the smooth convex face with diminutive oval mouth and elongated, raised linear nose framed by crescent eyes pierced through and sloping to a close-cropped coiffure of stylized geometric motif overhung by three forward-projecting horns, scarification in small panels on the temples and between the eyes; varied black matte patina overall. Provenance: Carlo Monzino Collection Note: Yaure masks are extremely refined in their carving style. While many of them show elements of both humans and animals, they are part of the regalia used to gain favor of a formidable 'spirit' power through rites, offerings and sacrifices. '...the Yohure consider these masks dangerous and have subjected them to a great many taboos for fear of their tremendous power; for instance, they must never be touched outside of their ritual use (i.e. dances) , and above all, women are never allowed to see them' (Barbier 1993:110) See (ibid.:112) for a related je mask. Both masks are named bla, or ram. Amongst the Yaure the ram is one of the most powerful animals, and is considered the 'symbol of the generative force which both wakens man and the world and ensures the renewal of the life cycle, and is thought to possess a special power which resides in its skull ' (ibid). The je masks appear in a succession during the afternoon of a funeral. They do not represent specific individuals, but are homages to secondary dieties. As such, the strength implied by the ram helps to regenerate the village after a death, and to purify. Estimate - 6000-9000 Sold for $15,600
           
          Sotheby's [Paris] Lot #30 -- Tuesday, June 15, 2004
           
          A YAURE MASK, IVORY COAST haut. 32,5 cm Ce masque ancien, d'une tres belle finesse d'execution, presente un visage humain surmont‚ de deux cornes d'antilopes recourbees vers le bas. Le style est caracteristique de l'art developpe par les sculpteurs Yaure‚ (qui a fortement influence les Baule voisins) : visage ovale ceint dans sa partie inf‚rieure d'une collerette dentelee et termine par un petit tenon annele coiffure tripartite, sourcils fortement arques dont la ligne se prolonge dans un nez droit. La petite bouche prognathe, aux lÅ vres serr‚es sur une langue apparente, est rehaussee de pigments blancs. Ce masque se caracterise par l'extreme finesse de ses traits et de sa gravure, en motifs geometriques sur les sourcils et la coiffe. Sa qualit‚ d'execution, l'equilibre de sa structure, sa patine lisse, brillante, … la couleur caramel sur les parties claires et la tres belle qualit‚ de la taille au revers, attestent l'anciennet‚ de ce masque. Provenance: Storrer, Zrich, 1973 Collect‚ par Emil Storrer le 8 f‚vrier 1952 dans le village de Bengebessou ( cercle de Bouafl‚). Accompagn‚ d'un certificat d'E. Storrer. Note: Selon A. Deluz (in : Corps sculpt‚s, corps par‚s, corps masqu‚s, 1992 p. 138), il s'agit d'un masque du Gy‚, repr‚sentant l'antilope goro. Ce masque possede une double signification, … la fois feminine ( secretement associe… des rites du knoe societe feminine yaure) et masculine - identite sous laquelle il est cense annoncer aux villageois le feu, et donc la guerre. Il apparait lors de ceremonies ou il allume un feu puis l'eteint en etalant les braises avant un sacrifice. Estimate - 15000-20000 Sold for 39600. 
           
          Other images of Yaure masks from various sources: 
          [Mask]

          Among the Yaure, masks are believed to possess extraordinary powers and represent spirits inhabiting the realm of nature. They are sometimes used during rites of passage, when young men wear them while dancing.
          The Yaure also use masks during funerary ceremonies. They allow the spirits of deceased people to join their ancestors in the afterlife. When ceremonies end, the Yaure return the masks to the sacred grove outside the village.
           

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          Identified as Yaure, but is it Baule?  Lee
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          Masque
          Yaoure, Côte d'Ivoire
          Bois sculpté
          Début du 20ème siècle
          Hauteur : 32 cm
          Ancienne collection Aristide Courtois
          Prix : nous consulter


          Masque
          Yohoure, Ivory Coast
          Sculpted wood
          Early 20th century
          Height: 12½ in.
          Ex Collection Aristide Courtois
          Price: on request






          Information Galerie Flak
          8 rue des Beaux-Arts
          75006 Paris, France
          tel: (33) 1 46 33 77 77
          fax: (33) 1 46 33 27 57
          e-mail: contact@...

          Identified as Yaure, but could it be Guro or Baule?  Lee
           
           
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          Yaure-MaskeClick here to see an enlargement of this image.  (It's worth the effort!)
           
           
          An extremely frequently replicated Yaure mask form. (See Kerchache, Art of Africa, Plate 67 (page 131).
          For more replicas of this form, see
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           A Notice Regarding a "Missing" Yaure Mask
          Yaure Mask (Ivory Coast)
          This rare mask (size: 20 cm) was stolen from the Ethnological Museum in Munich (Völkerkundemuseum) the 22th of December 2004. The mask was collected by the German anthropologist, Hans Himmelheber, in 1934. There is a reward for the recovery of this mask.
          If you have any information, contact:
          Mr. Stefan Eisenhofer
          Curator for African Art Völkerkundemuseum, Munich
          Tel: 49 89 210136138
           


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