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Mask for the Okuyi Society (Mukudj)

Arts of Africa

On View: Special Exhibitions, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
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.
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)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1922, provenance not yet documented; by 1922, acquired by François Poncelet of Brussels, Belgium; 1922, purchased in Brussels from François Poncelet by Stewart Culin for the Brooklyn Museum.
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    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.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Special Exhibitions, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Punu. Mask for the Okuyi Society (Mukudj), late 19th century. Wood, pigment, 9 7/8 x 7 x 6in. (25.1 x 17.8 x 15.2cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.225. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.225_SL1_edited_version.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 22.225_SL1_edited_version.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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