African art > Mask > Punu Mask
Punu mask of Okuyi dance (N° 16956)
The African masks of Okuyi dances.
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This face mask, evoking a deceased woman, is divided into two colours. It was exhibited during the dance named Okuyi. In addition to the braids gathered in shell that make up her hairstyle, a rich ornament composed of glass beads, cauris and raffia braid highlights the oval of the face entured with a wicker cord. Traditional checkered scarifications, mabinda, are gloomy.
The white masks of Gabon, itengi, (pl. bitengi) were associated with the various secret societies in Gabon, including the Bwiti, Bwete , and the Mwiri ("diriger"), the latter spanning several levels of initiation, to which all Punu men belonged, 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 acrobatic dance of the Okuyi, on stilts, remaining the most widespread.
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|Material(s)||wood, cauris, perles, vannerie|
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