Funerary Mask


From: Bismarck Archipelago | Papua New Guinea | New Ireland

Curatorial Section: Oceanian

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Native Name Tatanua
Object Number P4555
Current Location Collections Storage
Provenience Bismarck Archipelago | Papua New Guinea | New Ireland
Date Made 1910-1913
Section Oceanian
Materials Wood | Plant Fiber | Rattan | Cotton | Feather | Lime | Sea Snail Operculum | Pigment
Technique Carved

Funerary mask (tatanua). Carved wooden face surmounted by large semi-circular headdress of trade cloth and plant fiber. Eyes of sea snail opercula. Red, black and white pigment. Helmet mask worn by male dancers in performances at large scale, clan-sponsored multi-village mortuary celebrations. The crest of fiber “hair” may refer to a tradition in which, as part of mortuary observances, young men shaved the sides of their heads, which were then covered with a plaster of powdered lime. The two sides of a mask always differ, and the line of dancers turns to display each in turn.

Height 42 cm
Length 40 cm
Width 19 cm
Credit Line Purchased from J. F. G. Umlauff, 1913
Other Number 2208 - Other Number

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