Lot: 37

Headpiece of a large mask ensemble

Papua New Guinea - East Sepik Province, Iatmul, area of Tambanum village

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Joseph Kone, collected in situ in Avatip village
German Private Collection
L: 29.5 inch 1500 EUR / 3000 EUR

wood, pigment (white, black and yellow), cowrie shells, boar tusks, in shape of a pig's head, slightly dam., minor missing parts, cracks, traces of old age and weathering, rep. (small part at the trunk), metal base. The pig's head was part of a large mask frame, which unfortunately has not survived in its full form. It was originally attached to a large hood made of rattan and bark cloth and was complemented by a lavish costume made of plant fibres (see field photo) that completely concealed the wearer. A head of the same type, here in the form of a dog, was part of the Masco Collection (Wardwell 1994, ill. 20). The masks often represent animals such as fish or pigs, which occur in mythology and represent different forms of the ancestors.

Wardwell, Allen, Island Ancestors, Oceanic Art from the Masco Collection, Fort Worth 1994, Ill. 20