of Punu masks:
mask represents the spirit of an ancestor and is commonly found
throughout western and central Gabon. The white face represents the soul
of an ancestor. The beautiful hairstyle is a common feature among the
Punu women. In some cases scarification on foreheads are clearly
Masks of this type are nowadays used to
entertain audiences during festivals or celebrations. On rare occasions
the masks are used during a ritual function. During these rituals
masqueraders dance and they embody the spirits of male and female
Typical of these type of masks are the
female face, the coiffure with two side braids a hairstyle commonly used
by women of this region. In some cases red dots that is situated on the
forehead and upper cheeks. Other common features are a pointed nose,
protruding lips, arched eyebrows narrow eyes and closed mouth.
Some masks have a natural wood color
and are believed to have a judiciary function, and is used by chiefs to
consult with the ancestors to find solutions to problems. Masks are
also used during ceremonies, festivals and celebrations.
The Punu people reside along the upper
Ngoumie River. They live in independent villages that are divided into
sects and families.