Lot: 44

Mask "malangan" with ear planks

Papua New Guinea - Bismarck Archipelago - New Ireland

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Lucas Ratton, Paris, France H: 17.5 inch 5500 EUR / 10000 EUR

wood, encrusted resin-like reddish brown patina, red and black pigment, pierced eyes with shell inlay, broad snout painted with jagged rows of teeth, symmetrical ear planks with circular emblems, slightly dam., rep. (breakage: right ear), abrasion of paint, base. These box-shaped masks were used both as the heads of wood figures as well as on dance masks employed in "malagan" ceremonies. These took place irregularly, and were typically large and complex events, taking several days, and requiring months or years of preparation. While a "malagan" ceremony was always held in the name of one or more people who had died in recent years, it was not at all merely a mortuary rite. Many other interactions took place within the overall event, including announcements, repayment of debts, recognition of obligations, resolution of disputes, and many other customary activities.