Mudman mask from PNG

aaaMystrySolvd-998Q:  Can you tell me where this pottery mask comes from and how old it is?  Robert, 998

A:  This is a mudman mask from the Asaro people of the Eastern highlands of Papua New Guinea. Made of clay, they were originally used to scare opposing warriors during an attack. Small ones like this are meant to be monkeys and today they are sold for profit to tourists. According to legend, an Asaro group were once driven into a swamp by an invading tribe. After plastering their heads with mud they launched a counterattack and frightened the enemy away. On pages 71 and 76 of Masks of the World by Ibold and Yohn you can see other Mudman masks. It is probably not very old. B+

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