African art > African mask > Punu Mask

Punu Mask (N° 13979)

These African masks from Gabon were associated with Gabon's various secret societies, including Bwiti, Bwete , and Mwiri ("le"), the latter spanning several levels of initiation, to which all belonged Punu men, and whose emblem was the caiman. The punu did not involve any masks in the rituals of the Bwiti, unlike the Tsogo. These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, included several dances, including the leopard dance, the esomba , the Mukuyi, and the dance of the okuyi , on stilts, remainthe most widespread. This kaolin-bleached face mask, reminiscent of a deceased woman, was displayed at the dance called Okuyi. Classically capped with shells, the checkered scarifications, mabinda, absent on this copy, would constitute keloids associated, according to some authors, with the nine clans that founded the Kongo kingdom.
Old polychromy, abrasions and dessication cracks. Velvet surface.  

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Originex-collection Dunant
EthnyPunu
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood
Height35
Width25
Weight0.70 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°
Socle inclusOptional

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