|Title||Punu Maiden Spirit Mask Mukudji White Gabon African COLLECTION|
|Type of Object||Mask|
|Country of Origin||Gabon|
|Approximate Age||Mid 20th Century|
|Dimensions||Height: 12 Inches
Width: 8.5 Inches
Depth: 6.5 Inches
|Overall Condition||Fair. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners. Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use. We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings. Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.|
|Damage/Repair||Chipping, cracks in face, bug damage, chip on eye and ear|
From the Collection of Robert Pearson, Denver, Colorado
Bob Pearson began collecting African art later in his life. He was a n engineer, inveterate climber, and long-time collector of books and paintings. Spurred by the Douglas Society at the Denver Museum of Art, and his friendship with noted collector George Heggarty, he began building an enormous, eclectic collection. His African art library grew to several hundred books. He loved textiles and “material culture”-things which had domestic use, like spoons, cups, stools, and chairs, as well as masks and carvings. His collection included items from more than thirty African countries, and his fine eye gave him pieces ranging from a golddust scale to huge Dogon figural ladders. Africa Direct is honored to have been chosen to sell them.
Additional Information:This mask is used by various tribes in Gabon. This one comes from the Punu. Mmwo Spirit Maiden Mask portrays a beautiful maiden with her whitened face and serene expression. As in life this beautiful maiden wears an elaborate hairstyle shown through polychrome colors. The mask would be worn with a colorful costume covering her body. Although the mask has an Asian expression, no such connection has been established. known as duma or mvudi, it represents a female guardian spirit in the initiation of young girls, funerary rites, ancestor cults, and also in dances of the full moon. At the burial ceremonies of the Puno society, the mask represented a female ancestor. In the Mukui (Moukouj, Mukuji) society, the masked performer, sometimes on stilts, performed at the dance of the full moon. (See Segy's MASKS OF BLACK AFRICA.) The refined features and elaborate coiffure of the Puno masks mirror the appearance of tribal women. Social cohesion is ensured by a society known as Moukouji, whose primary role is to subjugate harmful forest spirits. The white pigments on masks allude to the anti-witchcraft powers of this group. The Puno make only masks of women, with elaborate hairstyles, features which appear somewhat Asian, and white kaolin pigments. They are worn by Moukouji initiates, who are often on stilts. They are thought to represent ancestor's faces.
Recommended Reading: Kerchache's ART OF AFRICA