UVaM - University of Virginia Art Museum


Mask (mukudj),
20th c.
Punu peoples, Gabon
Wood, pigment,
12.75 x 6 5/8 x 6 inches
Gift of John A. McKesson,

The creator of the mukudj mask tries to capture the likeness of the most beautiful woman in his community. A carver has described the appeal of the beautiful female mask, saying: "It's to demonstrate the greatness of beauty. The masquerader who wears this mask is a charming creature, so when she [the mask] is there she exhibits her beauty. Thus even when you are busy, you abandon all your activities to dance with the mask." The mask is painted white, the color of healing and the spiritual realm.