Mask Yuat River East Sepik River Province Papua New Guinea
This powerful spirit mask is from Yuat River area in the lower Sepik River area of the East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea.
It represents a mythical bush spirit called Barag who is called upon for help in both male initiation and hunting. Barag masks exist in male and female form, this is a male mask,
In the Men’s Ceremonial House or Haus Tambaran, offerings are made to the mask spirit and magical substances are mixed with the ochre paint when the mask is repainted each time it is used in a ceremony. Although carved Masks are impressive works of art, to the
Sepik Peoples their potency lies in the bright poly-chrome paints applied to their surfaces , paint is a magical substance that endows the Masks with supernatural power and beauty. In creating their displays, artists strive to achieve a visual magnificence that will overwhelm the viewer.
Important masks were only danced on rare occasions, including the initiation of young males and at times of scarce game 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 that covered the dancers whole body.
This mask dates from the 1960’s
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