Oceania

Small PNG mask in nice condition

Q:  I need to know what kind of mask it is! I bought it in a street market in Spain and haven’t yet found any information about it! Thanks in advance.  It is 12 in in height, not counting the accessories.  Rafael, 883

A:  It is definitely from Papua New Guinea and looking very good. The general look of it and all of the materials are typical of the wood carvings of many tribes inhabiting that large, still-not-completely-explored island nation. Those long feathers are from the cassowary. But otherwise I have difficulty identifying it. It is unusually small for a traditional ancestor mask or a mosquito mask, both of which it resembles. I would assume it is a recently made item to sell to tourists, but it could be for use. Maybe someone with a special interest in Melanesian art could comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *