Global Art & Artifacts

Punu Lumbo Okuyi Mask.  Funerary.  Ancestral.  Ogooue River region.  Gabon

Click the photo above for a larger version and more pictures



Well known for white-faced masks (Okuyi), the ethnic group that this was acquired from (Mpongwe) has two separate uses for masks like this.


Costumed ceremonies include rites of passage and funerary events.


This mask was used for the later.  The typical Okuyi performer wears a large and loose costume that resembles a clan ancestor.  Ancestors are celebrated as tranquil and serene since these were the ancestors who counselled, educated and protected members of the clan.


Costumes were made of raffia, bamboo with a thick underlying foundation of a woven fabric call hessian.  Hands and feet were blackened….. and, of course, the pièce de resistance, the mask.


Although you might see these in import stores . . .  many are made in factories without attention to detail or custom.  A pathetic imitation.


This one IS authentic…. with character and carved by tribal artisans.


Acquired from an avid Gabon tribal mask collector in Israel.


Other than some age cracks, this mask is in good condition.  Stand not included.



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