Tribal art > African mask > Punu Mask
The African masks of the Punu are distinguished by their elaborate hairstyles made up of braided shells. This sophisticated example also has a pierced lid.
Height on base: 47 cm. Abraded matte patina, gaps (outlines).
The white masks of Gabon, itengi, (pl. bitengi) were associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, including the Bwiti, Bwete, and the Mwiri ("to lead") , the latter being spread over several levels of initiation, to which all Punu men belonged, and whose emblem was the caiman (hence, for some, the saurian scale pattern). This object, evocation of a deceased young woman, was exhibited during the dance called Okuyi. These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, featured several dances, including the Leopard Dance, the Esomba, the ...