Masks from Gabon are generally named after the rite in which they participate (bwiti, bwété, byéri, ngil, emboli, okuyi, mukuyi...).
They intervene in all the occasions which are vital for the community, in rites of a social nature (mourning, funerals, illnesses), in purification or fecundity rites (births, adolescence, virginity), in reconciliation and justice rites (to restore the authority of a chief, the harmony of families, or to solve generational conflicts) or even in protection rites (which mainly invoke the good graces of ancestors or spirits).
Mukuyi masks, commonly named ‘the white masks’, are smeared with kaolin, which in earlier times was mixed with crushed human bones.
This white ritual blusher, still used in Equatorial Africa, is called Pfemba.
Sign of communication with the supernatural world, the white clay is used by men and women, especially during the rites of the Bwiti.
- Indigenous object name
- Ancienne collection Robert Lemariey (Paris, France)
- Ethnic group/ culture
- Punu Jumbo
- Region/ country
- 1st half 20th century
- Sold with stand
- 26×18×16 cm