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Pair of old Mortlock Islands Tapuana Masks from Micronesia


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Collection No. TB-2012
Size Left Mask 31x14cm & Right 40cm x15cm
Pair of old Mortlock Islands Tapuana Masks from Micronesia
Pair of old Mortlock Islands Tapuana Masks from Micronesia
Pair of old Mortlock Islands Tapuana Masks from Micronesia
Pair of old Mortlock Islands Tapuana Masks from Micronesia
Pair of old Mortlock Islands Tapuana Masks from Micronesia
Pair of old Mortlock Islands Tapuana Masks from Micronesia
Pair of old Mortlock Islands Tapuana Masks from Micronesia

This pair of finely carved & painted masks are from the Mortlock Islands in Micronesia. The masks are called Tapuana in the local language and they represented an important male and female ancestors.

The Mortlock Islands are three small atolls in state of Chuk part of the Federated States of Micronesia.  The Japanese were the Colonial ruler in Micronesia from 1914 – 1945 when the Japanese lost WWII.  These masks are definitely from the Japanese Colonial era they have Japanese characters written on the back of one of the masks.

The masks were used as ornaments in the ceremonial house and the ceremonial house was the location of performances by members of a secret society, in which the god of wind was appeased to protect the breadfruit crops from hurricanes and storms.

Provenance:  The Todd Barlin Collection of Micronesian Art & Oceanic Art

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