Oceania, Papua New Guinea, East Sepik, Abelam, ca. mid 20th century CE. A fascinating woven mask with an avian, owl-like face, divided by a huge projection that resembles a narrow beak, with two round, open eyes, each studded with a cowrie shell. Two ear-like projections emerge from the sides of the face, and the forehead is painted with an earthy, pale red pigment. The mask is finely woven from natural fibers and hand painted with red and grey pigments, created for festivals surrounding the cherished yam, the crucial crop of the Abelam people of northeast Papua New Guinea. Masks like this example have traditionally been used to adorn the heads of huge tubers, rather than humans. Size: 11" W x 6.25" H (27.9 cm x 15.9 cm)
Provenance: ex-private Tucson, Arizona, USA collection; ex-Ron Perry collection; Ron Perry collected art and artifacts for more than 40 years in New Guinea and the South Pacific. He collaborated with Carolyn Leigh to write a book entitled, "Art Dealer in the Last Unknown: Ron Perry & New Guinea Art: the early years 1964-1972" (2011)
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