African art > Mask > Punu Mask
Okuyi Dance Punu Mask (N° 17467)
Internalized and peaceful expression for this reduced version of the famous punu mask on which the nine scale patterns associated with traditional tribal scarifications are highlighted; a single braided shell caps the head. These hairstyles come in different forms and illustrate women's fashion during the 19th century in Gabon. A white patina, abraded, covers the face in contrast to the brown red from which the keloids and lips are dyed. The contours were damaged by storage conditions. Erosions.
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The color of mourning is white, establishes a link with the world of spirits and ancestors to which were attributed protective and beneficial virtues. Okuyi masks were displayed during rituals with very ancient origins in which dancers mounted on stilts waved in order to invoke the spirit of a deceased with a mask depicting a beautiful young woman. These rituals took place during the funerals of notables, women who gave birth to twins or were twins themselves, but also on the occasion of the birth of twins.
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