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Punu Standing Female Gabon African Art 17 Inch

$290.00
Product #: 99097
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Title Punu Standing Female Gabon African Art 17 Inch
Type of Object Carving
Country of Origin Gabon
People Punu
Materials Wood, pigment, vegetal fiber
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 17.5 inches. H. x 5.5 inches W.
Overall Condition Good
Damage/Repair Right leg broken and repaired with glue; the basketry is broken


Additional Information: The Punu, like their relatives the Shira and the Lumbo, fled the Fang and settled in the equatorial forests of southern Gabon. Little is known about their history or way of life. They do appear to have connections to the Fang and Kota in their religious and ancestral rituals. The Punu are known for their maiden spirit masks with white face used in the context of the Mukuji society. Most of the known Punu statues are small works with face painted in white as on their masks, thought to be used as guardian figures.


Sculpted figures among the Punu have been identified as being present as prestige and magical figures during ceremonies or were placed in close proximity to funerary bundles of revered ancestors. Her white color and closed eyes reflect the spirituality and the face of the figure with its high eyebrow and forehead markings are based upon the marvelously carved Mukudj masks active among the Punu. Mukudj masks are worn by male dancers at funerals of honored elder males in which the white face portrays an idealized female with a well defined helmet-like hair style that crowns her head and surrounds her face. Though the face has a calm expression the figure is shown in a dance that is of great vigor and movement and she maintains her sense of composure and calm. Her elegant coiffure and body and face marking portray her as a mature woman of great composure and beauty, balancing action to an extraordinary sense of reserve.


Recommended Reading:


Siroto, L. African Spirit Images and Identities, 1976.