African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Okuyi mask
Okuyi mask (N° 20879)
A later version of the Okukwe, this ovoid mask has features raised with dark pigments and a large horizontal mark. It is a judicial mask of the Okukwe society, worn for funerals, the birth of twins, or other important events.
Abraded patina. Cracks and erosions.
Height on base: 40 cm.
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The Galoa (or Galwa), subgroup Pounou , live downstream from Lambaréné on the Ogooué River, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. They are called "the people of the lake". They produced masks named Okouyi , Okukwé , used by initiatory societies to reveal witchcraft and their authors through divination.
Several neighboring ethnic groups, including the Adouma and the Kota, use contrasting flat colors in Gabon, including kaolin that is supposed to have apotropaic properties.
The Gabonese groups practice the cult of bwiti, ancestor worship, and their relics are topped by a sculpture acting as a watchman.
"The soul of Africa" S. Diakonoff; "L'Art tribal d'Afrique noire" ed. Assouline; "Masques du Gabon" ed. Sillages.
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