Powerful Barag masks like this example were only danced on rare occasions, including the initiation of young males and at times of scarce food and other village hardship. Each individual mask was known by a unique name and was danced by an initiated male concealed in a plant fibre costume covering the whole body of the dancer. The dancer becomes the powerful spirit for the time it is being danced. This finely carved mask with layers of ochre painted decoration that has left an encrusted patina over decades. This old and well used Mask dates from the early 20th Century. The nose shows the concentric shell nose decorations that were worn by men in the 19th Century.
Height: 43cm Width: 18cm
Coastal Sepik River Area, East Sepik Province, Papua New Gui