A Fine Rom Ceremony Dance Mask from Ambrym Island Vanuatu
This Fine Mask is used in the Rom Ceremony from Northern part of Ambrym Island in Vanuatu. This mask was danced in a traditional Rom Ceremony.
The Rom Ceremony is a highly significant aspect of Ambrym Island culture, it combines singing, dancing & the making of masks.
Each mask has a particular design that signifies the wearer’s status in the village. Not everyone can simply create and wear a mask – the story and ceremony behind each mask must be learnt and a ‘grade taking’ ceremony must be performed, in order to achieve the next level of status. In Vanuatu Men & Women belong to secret societies that they can progress through grades or levels over their lifetimes by preforming ceremonies that make alliances & being able to gather and distribute traditional wealth such as full circle tusked pigs.
Masks can also be bought from another person or village chief. In this case, the buyer becomes the owner’s apprentice, in order to learn the ceremony and story of the mask, as well as paying the owner in pigs and produce.
After the ceremony, it was carefully packed in traditional materials like palm leaves as seen in the photo of the back of this mask.
Provenance: From the collection of the late David Baker (1943-2009 ) who was the president of The Oceanic Arts Society of Australia and was a great collector, expert & supporter of Oceanic Art & Cultures.
The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Arts