M23 "Rom" Mask, Vanuatu
Ambrym Island, Vanuatu
Early to mid-20th Century. Ex-German collection, Ex-Marc Lissauer, Melbourne.
The tapa masks of Nissan island are rare pieces, called Tadak, and made for the final phase of the mortuary ceremony. Bark, usually from a breadfruit tree was stretched over a cane framework; sometimes like this one also lining the inside. Only men wore these masks, covering their bodies with bark strips or leaves to appear as “spirits”.
A very similar mask, now in the St Louis Art Museum, USA, is published in Anthony Meyer’s book “Oceanic Art”, Konneman, 1995.
Size: 87 x 24 x 28 cm