African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Punu mask
This African mask with a harmonious face constitutes one of the stylistic variants of the white masks of Gabon, itengi, (pl. bitengi). An enveloping headdress contours the face.
The checkerboard scarifications, mabinda, are abraded.
Matt patina, minimal erosions, desiccation cracks.
In tribal art, this tribal mask from Gabon was associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, including the Bwiti, Bwete, and the Mwiri ("to lead"), the latter spanning several levels of initiation, to which all Punu men belonged, and whose emblem was the caiman. The Punu did not involve any mask in Bwiti rituals, unlike the Tsogo. These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, featured several dances, including the leopard dance, the Esomba, the Mukuyi, and the i> ...