• Oceania

    Abelam yam mask from PNG

    Q: Looking to ID this mask. The story is that it was brought back from somewhere in the Pacific Theater during or a little after WWII. It has a movable mouth (or lower jaw) and a tongue made up of some kind of rolled up material. Overall kind of beat up and moth eaten. Probably had some fur on it at some time and has a tail at the top. Kind of a rat shape to it. Overall length, not including the tail, is about 31″. Daryl, 1722 A: We are thinking this mask is from Papua New Guinea’s East Sepik Region. This is where the Abelam people live. A…

  • 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…

  • Oceania

    Old Melanesian masks

    The first mask is from Northern New Ireland, Papua New Guinea; the second is a Tago mask from Tami Island, PNG; and the third comes from Kamge village in the East Sepik Province of PNG. These are 3 of 17 outstanding masks that represent different cultural groups occupying the large part of the South Pacific called Melanesia. They are all from all from the Australia Museum listed below. You will surely recognize some of them in other famous museums and books. After West Africa, Melanesia has the richest assortment of highly artistic masks in the world. During the 19th century many great European artists were profoundly influenced by the folk…

  • Oceania

    Cool tourist mask from PNG

    Q: You have seen this helmet mask back in 2010. I wonder if you have any further information on it since then. I bought it from a consignment shop on lay away…college student…little money. Mickey, 1678 A: I can’t remember that far back, but today I think your mask is an impressive carving from the Sepik River area of New Guinea. It is too creative to be considered a reproduction, and is tourist art at its best. Let’s hope there are some collectors and curators of Melanesian artifacts who would love a modern version of PNG traditional art. B

  • Oceania

    25-in Ramu mask from PNG

    Q: Bought on ebay as Ramu ancestral mask for 225USD. It could be also from the Lower/Middle Sepik River area of Papua New Guinea. Seller claimed that it was collected in the 1970s. Wood, natural fibres, very worn off cassowary feathers and a couple of tips from what it appears to be bore tasks used as a decoration of the cheeks. 64 cm tall. Vesselin, 1618 A: I think it looks good and may be authentic. Check it carefully to see if carved with natural tools or steel. There were still a few areas in PNG not visited by Westerners in the 1970’s. Or it could be an excellent reproduction.…

  • Oceania

    Micronesian mask from Mortlock Islands

    What you see here is an authentic mask from the Mortlock Islands, Micronesia, and it just fetched $2000 at auction. Micronesia is a large area of the world that is composed of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a closely shared cultural history with two other island regions: Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south. However, the Mortlock Islands are the only place were masquerade is performed in the region and all of their masks resemble this one. People like me, who collect masks from all over the world, feel it is important to have one of these in our collection because no…

  • Oceania

    Is this PNG mask really old?

    Q: Described as a late 19th to early 20th century gable mask from Papua New Guinea. What are your thoughts on quality/value/authenticity? Acquired from Artemis Gallery (ex-Adeon Gallery). Jon, 1597 A: You asked about quality, value and authenticity. The quality, (if that means appearance), is very good in my personal opinion. The value would depend on whether it was carved with natural tools or steel tools. It is very difficult for me to answer this when I can only look at 72dpi scans. Notice that the rear of this very traditional Sepik River area mask is flat. That is because many of the various ethnic groups also use masks to…

  • Oceania

    Ask the Mask Man or professional appraisal

    Q: Got this from a dealer in Port Moresby. I would like to know its authenticity, value and where/tribe it came from. Old or new? After my answer, John wrote… I am interested in an appraisal, and information on where the mask is from (in Papua New Guinea) whether it is an authentic mask that was used in ceremonies, and whether it is particularly valuable. John, 1575 A: The answers that are posted on this site usually show 3 good photographs of the mystery mask, some interesting background info, and an A, B, C, D evaluation with can roughly suggest its value. An appraisal describes the mask, talks about marketing…

  • Indonesia,  Oceania

    Dayak hudoq mask

    From the Dayak people of the Kalimantan portion of Borneo, the mask is a classical style hudoq depicting a mythical boar, bird and dragon; the face painted in red, white and black, with attached ears, the lobes with remains of fiber cord that once held pendant ear decorations. It is 25 inches high and has never been used. It came from the Cobbs Auctioneers, a company that often comes up with high-quality masks that are not terribly expensive. Can someone explain why a mask of this quality would be antiqued on the front and not the rear?