About the Cover Page - A Guro mask from the Ivory Coast
(Thanks to Marna Schoeman for sharing it from her collection.)
The hand carved Guro masks of the Ivory Coast represent the spirit of Gu, the wife of Zamble, a supernatural being. All masks are individually carved and coloured and no two are ever the same, however they all have a number of similarities. They all have a combination of human and animal traits such as horns or bills from large billed birds which give them magical spiritual powers, and protect the owner as well as the tribe. They were worn during customary ceremonies, funerals, animal sacrifices and weddings. Today the people honour their ancestors with traditional dances and wear the masks as a symbol of respect and loyalty to their past.