Prince Alexander Mountains, PNG. 19th/early 20th C.

Wooden spirit masks from the Arapesh are very rare, with the vast majority woven from stripped cane. This mask is ancient. It is a pre-contact, stone-carved and dates possibly to 19th Century. The colours are pale and subtle, but the carving is super with the strong projecting line of the face finishing with a wide strong nose, with a flared and pierced septum. Above are strange non-symmetrical round eyes; below, the mouth displays sharp teeth and a small protruding tongue. The large hole at the base suggests this mask may have been used as a talipun mask, secured to a
green turbo shell, as an important bride price. Published in Michael Hamson’s “Art of the Boiken”, 2011, pp162.
Ex-Michael Kremerskothen collection, Germany; ex-Michael Hamson collection, USA.


38 x 16 x 10 cm

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