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Mask for the Okuyi Society (Mukudj)

Arts of Africa

In the past mukudj masks were danced on stilts in masquerades during funeral celebrations. The mask’s white coloring symbolizes peace, the afterlife, and the spirits of the dead—though today its performances are chiefly for entertainment.
CULTURE Punu
MEDIUM Wood, pigment
  • Place Made: Gabon
  • DATES late 19th century
    DIMENSIONS 9 7/8 x 7 x 6in. (25.1 x 17.8 x 15.2cm)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 22.225
    CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Light wooden dance mask, carved in the form of a human face with high headdress painted black in six parallel, curved ridges going from front to back. Face colored white and decorated with three groups of keloids: between brows, at outer edges of eyes and brows, and on temples. Slit eyes, holes at either side for attachment. Used by a female secret society. Condition: Surface wear; missing pigment. Holes in face at lower left and in one eye.
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