PunuREGION OF ORIGIN:
13.5" (35.3 cm) Tall.CONDITION:
Saccsi Collection - Florida, USA.
Notes on the Scaasi Collection: The bulk of the collection was put together in the 1970's from galleries in the New York area while the collector was living in Greenwich Village. His collecting continued over the years though with a piece added here and there through till the mid to late 1990’s. No documentation exists, the information is from family members.
Punu masks of southern Gabon, (locally known as mukudj masks) represent portraits of an extraordinarily beautiful female. The tri-parted hairstyle, featuring a prominent sagittal lobe flanked by two lateral tresses, is an archetypal women's coiffure worn throughout the region during the nineteenth century. The lozenge cicatrization (patterns on the skin) markings were incised on the forehead and temples of Punu women as a form of aesthetic embellishment and a sign of sensuality. Traditional mukudj masks often accentuate a subdivision of the motif into nine units, which is significant in light of the fact that, among the Punu, nine is considered a mystically powerful number and a catalyst in the healing process. The prominence of the number nine, as well as the red band that accentuates the hairline, make reference to the mystical powers commanded by the dancer. It is those powers that are believed to provide him with the talent and protection necessary to perform. The closed slit eyes represent a contemplative tranquility while at the same time affording the wearer an unobstructed view of the performance arena he must negotiate. The white kaolin on the surface of the masks is a reference to mystical superiority.