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Hand-Carved Punu Tribal Ceremonial Mask

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Hand-Carved Punu Tribal Ceremonial Mask

This hand-carved tribal ceremonial mask is from the Punu tribe in Gabon, Africa. The mask features original patina and pigments. The mask is in good condition with wear according to age and use. This mask is a tribal mask native to the Ogooué River basin in Gabon, especially in the south in Ngounié Province. Compared stylistically to Japanese art, the masks are typically oval in shape, with narrowed eyes, arched eyebrows, and small ears. The male masks (ikwar) tend to be brown and black pigment over kaolin and viewed as ugly and are shown at night whilst the masks for females (mukudj) tend to be lighter and considered prettier by the locals and are shown in the day. The Okuyi (or mokuyi) white-faced masks commonly contain nine scale-like patterns on the forehead. This is said to be a "central eye" and also a flowering tree. The white color, usually derived from kaolin, represents clarity, light, and beauty. Male dancers are known to wear the Okuyi while dancing. The white-faced masks are also used by other Gabon and Zaire rainforest people, such as the Kotas and Mpongwe. The Ashira also share in the white-faced mask tradition, which includes soft facial characteristics. The masks have been linked to the Mukui society and to female ancestor celebration dances, a funerary spirit association. Dimensions reflect the mask only.
Origin | Gabon, Africa
Year Made | 20th Century
Material | Wood
Dimensions | 11"W x 7"D x 17"H
ID | 20S01004
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