African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lumbu mask

Lumbu Punu mask (N° 21688)

The African mask opposite constitutes one of the stylistic variants of the white masks of Gabon, itengi , (pl. bitengi)with a subtly modeled face.
In the earliest art, this tribal mask of Gabon was associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, including the Bwiti , Bwete , and the Mwiri ("directing"),the latter of which ranged in several levels of initiation, to which all Punu men belonged, and whose emblem was the caiman.

These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, included several dances, of which the dance of the leopard, the Esomba ,the Mukuyi ,and the dance of the Okuyi, on stilts, remained the most widespread. Within this group "Shira" the Lumbu, Loumbu, Balumbu, settled on the coastal part of Gabon, and in the Republic of Congo, are settled in the middle Ogooue.
This kaolin-bleached face mask, an evocation of a deceased woman, was exhibited during the dance called Okuyi . This mask is topped with braids figured by striations, gathered in a shell, extended at the top of two horns evoking the buffalo. This type of mask lacks the checkerboard scarification marks, mabinda, inscribed on the face of most Punu masks and which, according to some authors, are associated with the nine clans that founded the Kongo kingdom or with the different migratory routes. Two-tone velvety patina, eroded.

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Height cm48
Width17 cm
Weight0.55 Kg

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