Oceania, Papua New Guinea, Abelam tribe from the Maprik/Wosera area, ca. mid 20th century CE. A massive woven mask representing an ancestor, with a huge, avian-like nose curved into a hook form. The face has red around the eyes, then dark brown, on a creamy white background. The eyelids bulge outward, forming empty circles inside them that give the mask a haunting appearance. Ancestor images like this one are kept in the Haus Tambaran (an ancestor worship house with a steeply pointed roof) on special beds; they are worshiped there or appealed to for power during a ceremony. The Haus Tambaran is a specifically male space within the culture, and also relates to the yam cult that has developed around the staple crop of the people in this region. Size: 32" L x 15" W x 19" H (81.3 cm x 38.1 cm x 48.3 cm); 36" H (91.4 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection
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Small areas of loose weave and lost pigment, mainly at the edges, but generally in very good condition.