Punu Mask (Okuyi)

20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Gabon


11 1/2 in. h x 7 in. w x 7 in. d

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, pigments

Not On View


Africa and Oceania



White-faced masks were emoyed by several Ogoew River peoples, chiefly he Puna and Lumbo, and also were traded widely by the coastal Mpongwe. They are said to embody the personas of past community elders and were worn by costumed stilt-dancers at Mukuji society funerary rites. This example has the characteristic three-part black coiffure, arching brows over slit eyes, and pursed red lips. The haunting combination of beauty and balance was much admired by early European collectors.


May 22, 1969, sold by the Galerie Le Corneur Roudillon, Paris, to William Teel and Bertha, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel