M-8 Dance Headdress


M-8 Dance Headdress

Iatmul, Middle Sepik River, PNG Wood, cane, pigment.

This dance headdress forms one of the crowning ornaments used in conjunction with the avan, a conical woven costume that completely covers the male dancer’s body. In the mai ceremony a large shell-encrusted mask is fixed at the front of the avan. This headdress is at the apex, profusely embellished with feathers.

As the dancer moves, the cane connection allows the headdress to bounce backwards and forwards in energetic motion, highlighting the dancer’s movements and the beating drums.
The headdress is carved from a soft wood; considering its age it is in almost perfect condition, with the paintwork very well preserved. It is dominated by a single ancestor face on front and back, with two large water birds, totemic birds of the clan.

The headdress was collected in Tambanum village in 1971-1972.


64 x 44 x 3 cm

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