African art > Mask > Galoa Mask
Large Galoa Okukwé Mask (N° 17788)
Gabon and African art.
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Divated into opposite zones of contrasting colors, this deep ovoid mask has features from which emanates a certain serenity. It is a judicial mask of the Okukwé society, worn for funerals, the birth of twins, or other major events. Patina matte abrased. Cracks and erosions.
The Galoa (or Galwa), a subgroup Pounou , live downstream from Lambaréné on the Ogooué River, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. They are named 'the people of the lake'. They produced masks named Okouyi, Okukwé, used by initiation societies to reveal witchcraft and their authors through divination. Several neighbouring ethnic groups, including the Adouma and Kota, use contrasting colour flats in Gabon, including kaolin that is supposed to have apotropaic virtues. Groups in Gabon worship the bwiti, a cult of ancestors, and their relics are topped with a sculpture that acts as a watchman.
The Soul of Africa S. Diakonoff; The Tribal Art of Black Africa Ed. Assouline.
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