African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lumbu mask
The mask opposite is one of the stylistic variants of the white masks of Gabon, itengi , (pl. bitengi)with a subtly modeled face.
In early art, this Gabonese tribal mask was associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, including the Bwiti , Bwete , and the Mwiri ("directing"),the latter of which ranged in several levels of initiation, to which all Punu men belonged, and whose emblem was the caiman.
These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, included several dances, of which the dance of the leopard, the Esomba ,the Mukuyi ,and the dance of the Okuyi , on stilts, remained the most widespread.
Within this group "Shira" the Lumbu, Loumbu, Balumbu, settled on the coastal part of Gabon, and in the Republic of Congo, are settled ...