Oceania

Maori mask from New Zealand

This is the best Maori mask I have seen on the Internet. The quality of the carving is fantastic! Its mouth is open, with the tongue sticking out and the eyes protruding. The expression is aggressive and looks like the grimaces that Maoris make during war dances. However, it is not made for wearing. It celebrates an ancestor and would have been found on a Maori meeting house wall. The lines on this mask mirror Maori tattoos, which they had on their faces to make them look fierce in warfare. Today some Maori people are reviving this artistic tradition as they try to preserve their culture and identity.

The Maoris are part of Polynesia which occupies a vast portion of of the Pacific Ocean. Their population is small because most of their area is water. 70% of them live in Hawaii.

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