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Mask Punu or Tsengi Ikwara (N° 18587)

Former Belgian tribal art collection>As African art Punu and its African masks of ancestors.
This African mask of a rare type, intended for dance ikwara was used, according to Alisa LaGamma, during difficult palavers. This dark-coloured vigilante mask danced on small stilts. It is covered with crepe shells that men wore in Punu-Bayaka countries at the beginning of the 20th century. ( " Punu L. Perrois and C. Grand-Dufay, p.57, ed. 5Continents) A network of checkerboard or hatched scarifications are inscribed on the forehead, eyelids, and wide oblique band on the lower part of the face. A burgundy patina, where the abrasion zones reveal a light wood, covers the room. The mask was obviously worn.
High on a base: 45 cm.
The white masks of Gabon, itengi, (pl. bitengi) were associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, including the Bwiti, Bwete , and the Mwiri , the latter spanning several levels of initiation, to which all Punu men belonged, and whose emblem was the caiman. The Punu did not involve any masks in the rituals of the Bwiti, unlike Tsogo . These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, had several dances, including the leopard dance, the Esomba, the Mukuyi, and the dance of the Okuyi, on high stilts, remaining the most widespread.
Source (L. Perrois)  

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OriginEx. coll. belge Mercier
EthnyPunu
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood
Height35
Width20
Weight1.00 Kg
Estimated dating1sthalfxxe
Socle includedYes

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