Stylistic variations of punu African art. According to Alisa LaGamma, this African mask for Ikwara dance served as a difficult palaver. Vigil mask dancing on small stilts, it is capped with a cylindrical top shell with two side quilts, its distinctive tribal sign remaining however the frontal bands, the temporal and the commissures of the white lips contrasting with the black patina of the whole . These characteristics link him to the Tsengi of the punu-bakaya region. Lack on the back of the cap. Altered granular surface. Gabon's white masks, itengi (pl., Bitengi), were associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, notably the Bwiti, Bwete and Mwiri ("directing"), the latter being divided into several levels of initiation, which belonged to to all men punished, and whose emblem was the caiman. The punu had no mask in the Bwiti rituals, unlike the Tsogo. These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, practiced several dances, including the leopard dance, Esomba dance, Mukuyi dance and Okuyi dance, which remained the most widespread. Source (L. Perrois)
Condition : Surface and patina eroded. Cracks and various deficiencies (see pictures).