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- Country of origin: Gabon
- Size: 39 cm H x 16 cm W
- Materials: wood, pigments, kaolin
- Decorative african art
This superb modern mask with a serene facial expression comes from the Punu tribe in South-West Gabon.
The Punu group has a culture based on the cult of ancestors, a general respect for the deceased, and a fear of the spirits of the wilderness.
Punu masks have realistic, mostly white but sometimes black faces with protruding pursed lips, high-domed foreheads, and characteristic rigid high coiffures reflecting the Punu women's hair styles.
The masks often have an Oriental expression, but no such influence has been established.
Many Punu masks can be recognized by raised diamond-shape scarification marks on the foreheads and temples.
Masks like these white-faced masks represented the spirit of an ancestor from the afterworld and were often used by stilt dancers for funeral rituals.
4rd Quarter 20th century
©2017 Bert's Gallery of Tribal Art