Punu Mask

Archives | Gabon

Punu Mask

Gabon

Mukuyi Mask

Carved wood and pigments
Late 19th – early 20th century
Height: 13 ¾ in. (35 cm)

Provenance:
Collected before 1908 by Edouard Emile Léon Telle (born 1859)
Governor of Gabon 1907-1908
By descent until 2017
Ex Galerie Philippe Ratton, Paris, France
Ex Guilhem Montagut, Barcelona, acquired from the above

Publication / Exhibition:
“Gabon”, Galerie Philippe Ratton, June-Sept. 2017 p. 73
Parcours des Mondes, Paris, 2017

African Heritage Documentation & Research Centre Archive #ao-0138145

Sold
This ritual "M'Pongwe Mukuyi" (also called "mukudj" or "okuyi") mask is the representation of an idealized woman's face. It superbly combines expressivity and grace.
As stated by A. LaGamma (1995), these masks were used during the mwiri ceremonies, an important male initiation society spread throughout southern and central Gabon. They appeared during community rituals linked to important events of village life (funerals, end of mourning, youth initiation, transgressions of clan orders, birth, epidemics, etc).
Representing female entities from the world of spirits or the dead, the masks capture an ideal of beauty.
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