The Yaure are a relatively small ethnic group living in central Ivory Coast, neighboring the Baule and Guro. Their mask symbolically represents one of the “yu-spirit of powers” and is worn by a masker, who only performs in the context of funeral rites for men. Women may not even look at the mask; they are also not allowed to participate at the funeral ceremonies. The lomane masker’s performance involves dancing around the displayed corpse accompanied by purification incantations, occasionally bending over the corpse in order to touch it with the mask. The rite is intended to remove the mystical dangers precipitated by death, to restore order in the play of supernatural forces, and to reestablish unity in the community. At the same time, it marks the dead man’s passage to ancestorhood. Yaure masks show human faces, often with supplementary animal attributes. A very elegant mask with perfect proportions, especially in how the bird is placed with its prolonged beak showing the nose.
H: 30 cm (approx. 12”)
Estimated age: end of the 19th or early 20th century
Compare: “Tribal Sculpture” Masterpieces in the BarbierMueller Collection, p. 87 Provenance: Formerly part of a Belgian collection; Formerly part of a German collection; Austrian private collection