African art > Mask > Punu Mask
Punu mask of the Okuyi (N° 17522)
This African Punu mask features a look of fine arched palpebral slits, a protruding mouth, a forehead with an unconventional vertical pattern, a top shell with side duvets. These hairstyles come in different forms and illustrate women's fashion during the 19th century in Gabon. A collar also surrounds the entire head. The face is powdered with white kaolin, the color of mourning, which establishes a link with the world of spirits and ancestors to which were attributed protective and beneficial virtues. Desication cracks, traces of xylophages. 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.
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This 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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