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Okuyi Dance Punu Mask (N° 19286)

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A very sophisticated braided hairstyle, extended in braids to frame the kaolin-coated face of this punu mask. Delicately traced eyebrows highlighting the bulbous, half-closed eyelids, and prominent lips raised with red ochre make up a serene physiognomy. Cracks of desiccation, internal marks of use.
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 scaled pattern). The Punu did not use masks in Bwiti rituals, unlike the Tsogo. This object, evocative of a dead young woman, was displayed during the dance called Okuyi. These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, included several dances, including the Leopard Dance, the Esomba Dance, the Mukuyi Dance, or the Okuyi Dance, depending on the location, which was an acrobatic dance on stilts and was the most widespread. In some villages, at dawn or at dusk, the Okuyi was accompanied by songs in an esoteric language that only initiates could understand. (Punu,L. Perrois and C. Grand-Dufay)  

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Originex-collection Mercier
EthnyPunu
Countrygabon
Material(s)wood
Height39
Width20
Weight0.70 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°
Socle inclusOptional

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