Okuyi Mask, Punu People, Gabon

Regular price $1,500.00

Punu People, Gabon: Face Mask (Okuyi). Carved wood, enhanced with white kaolin clay, reddish and brown/black pigments. Late 19th/early 20th century. The mask represents a beautiful young female who has returned from the Island of the Dead, to rejoin village life. Her features include raised geometrically arranged dots of scarification on the forehead and temples, which are believed to have sexual connotation. Other desirable characteristics are the slit-like eyes, defined eyebrows, narrow nose, and the rounded, open mouth which appears to be singing. The hairline is defined by a woven band, above which is an elaborate four-sectioned coiffure. The larger front sections of the coiffure are separated from the back are divided by another, braided band.

In use, such masks would appear as the heads of raffia or fabric costumes borne by agile dancers on stilts.

Dimensions: 10H x 9W x 6D (inches)

Provenance: From the private collection of a Massachusetts Gentleman.