Lot: 39

Rare mask with prominent nose

Papua New Guinea - West Sepik, Aitape

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Bruce Lawes, California, USA
Scott McCue, Orinda, USA
Scott Rodolitz, New York, USA
Mark Eglinton, New York, USA
H: 17.5 inch 2000 EUR / 4000 EUR

wood, matt brown patina, red and white pigment, slightly dam., crack (right eye), base. From Aitape, the former "Berlinhafen", which is located in the Sandaun Province in the west of Papua New Guinea. During the German colonial period (1885-1919) "Berlinhafen" was an important base for the plantation economy. Pieces from this area are rare and mostly come from German times. Masks with extremely elongated beak-like nose represent male mythical spirits called "brag". They are closely involved in the initiation ceremonies of young boys by gulping and spitting out the initiates, which is considered to be a most decisive moment for the transformation from boys into men. They played an important part in hunting as well.

Peltier, Philippe et.al., Tanz der Ahnen, Zürich 2015, p. 253, ill. 133