Oceania

Ancestor mask from Papua New Guinea

Q: I inherited this mask and want to know more. Not sure where it was purchased, seems to be made of wood and quite large with strange swirls carved into the eyes. Mattie, 1721

A: Great ancestor mask from a Sepik River village in eastern PNG. Often these masks are made to be hung on the walls of the men’s meeting house. Notice that has no eye holes. Technically it is more like a religious sculpture. This carving has the distinctive features of the region, although the tongue is unusual. You might want to check out another one which also has a tongue hanging out: https://masksoftheworld.com/mask-from-sepik-river-png/ Unfortunately, I’m not certain of either’s authenticity.

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