M-14 Dance Mask “Temar Ne Arei”


M-14 Dance Mask “Temar Ne Arei”

SE Malekula Island, Vanuatu. Early 20th Century.

Made of vegetable paste on a spider web base, the spiderweb becomes a beard-like extension below the mask. The projecting sticks are THE defining attribute of this type of mask. These masks, ”Temar Ne Are”, are rare. This mask lacks the spiderweb beard found on the two examples below.
Speiser collected an example in 1912 (right image below) in east-south-eastern Malekula , now in Basel Museum, Switzerland. Very little has been written about these masks; Speiser’s only comment is: “these masks are at the origin of the dreaded temar ne arei type, and were kept well-stored, being for special (and rather taboo) occasions.” He refers to these masks as being “ culturally heavy”.

Ex-old German collection; ex-Mark Lisseur Melbourne.


33 x 28 x 7 cm

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