A Superb Old New Guinea Mask Lower Sepik River Area East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
|Size||Height: 43cm Width: 18cm|
A Superb Old New Guinea Mask Lower Sepik River Area East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea This old and well-used Mask dates from the early 20th Century
Powerful Brag 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 hardships. Each individual mask was known by a unique name and was danced by an initiated male concealed in a plant fiber 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 has left an encrusted patina from decades of use. The nose is carved to represent the concentric shell nose decorations that were worn by men in the 19th Century. The back of the mask shows the real age & use of traditional tools like a shell rasp.
In the Sepik River area people’s ceremonial & spiritual life revolves around masks, usually, dance masks worn by a select person but also large masks for the gables or windows of the monumental Ceremonial Haus Tambaran or Men’s Ceremonial House where all the important rituals & initiations take place and where scared objects like masks are stored and venerated.
Provenance: Old Collection Australia The Todd Barlin Collection of New GUinea Oceanic Art
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