East Asia

One of the great masks of the world

Baining Fire Dance mask
Baining Fire Dance mask

Q: (Part of an email that included several recently purchased masks.) The Baining mask is gigantic, about 5 feet tall from chin to top and maybe 3.5 feet long.  I have nowhere to put it, so it’s piled on my other masks.  I need a museum at this point.  Aaron, 587

A: Congratulations on your recent acquisitions. As always, they are excellent examples of masquerade from individual cultures around the world. This one is especially important. The Baining people are the original inhabitants of the Baining Mountains on the island of New Britain, part of Papua New Guinea. These people make extraordinarily designed, very large masks for their famous Fire Dance. It is an important addition to any generalist mask collection. I urge you to start planning a way to display your wonderful masks. A museum of your own is one possibility. A+

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