Scarf "IKOKU DANCE" silk 90x90 on a blue background
The scarf design is inspired by the Punu tribe’s culture and traditions.
Design and production: KOKOSHA.
Size: 90x90 cm.
Material: 100% silk-twill.
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In Gabon, the people of Punu tribe use masks in their ritual ceremonies, whose features resemble those of Asian ones. The masks have white faces with red lips and highly arched eyebrows, often with nine scars on their foreheads, symbolizing nine Punu clans, and an original coiffure arranged above their heads in one or two vertical reefs. All of the said features of white masks represent the standard of female beauty of the Punu tribe. Besides, the mask and the rest of the costume personifies the spirit of a deceased woman who comes to the aid of her living descendants.
Such masks are worn by men of the Mukuji secret society, who dress up while dancing in a costume made of fabric, or raffia fibers with elements of leather and fur. Dancers stand on stilts and are skilful acrobats, performing complex movements, as well as catching the spectators of the village in which the ceremony takes place. The dance represents a dialogue between the world of the living and the world of the dead.
Participants of the ritual perform the Ikoku dance, which is part of the Punu beauty and the cultural heritage of Gabon. They wear garments made of African Wax Prints fabrics that are common in Central and West Africa. The fabrics were initially introduced to these territories by Dutch merchants in the 19th century and were inspired by Indonesian batik. Afterwards, the Dutch began to adapt their designs and colours to suit the tastes of the African market. Now these colourful, elegant fabrics are an integral part of African culture and fashion.