African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Punu Mask

Punu Mask (N° 24779)

Influenced by the Kongo culture, the Punu and the Lumbu carved white masks such as this example topped with a large central shell. Female mask, its facial decorations refer to the scarifications in use. Abrasions, discreet burgundy highlights.
The white African masks of Gabon, itengi, (pl. bitengi) were associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, including the Bwiti, Bwete, and the Mwiri ("to lead" ), the latter being spread over several levels of initiation, to which all Punu men belonged. This object, evocation of a deceased young woman, was exhibited during the dance named Okuyi. These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, featured several dances, including the Leopard Dance, the Esomba, the Mukuyi or the Okuyi depending on the place, acrobatic dance on stilts, remaining the most widespread. In some villages, at dawn or dusk, the Okuyi was accompanied by songs in an esoteric language that only initiates could understand. (Punu, L. Perrois and C. Grand-Dufay)  

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OriginEx-collection française
EthnyPunu
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood
Height cm35
Width20 cm
Weight0.68 Kg
Socle inclusOptional

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