Global Art & Artifacts

Tumbuan Dance Costume / Dance Mask with attached Woven Mask. Middle Sepik River. Papua New Guinea.

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Tumbuan helmet / body masks are woven from cane, grass, leaves, or  spathe from the sago palm.  This mask was constructed from bark or tapa and attached to a frame forming a cone-shaped helmet and then covered with a clay.  Then, it was painted with earth pigments and charcoal.  Raffia (a brown grassy palm fiber) was attached.  Finally, a traditional mask was attached and paint applied  representing a specific ceremony or event.

This mask came from the Iatmul language group people of the Middle Sepik River.  The Tumbuan design is more traditional from the Dukduk – a secret society –  (Tolai people) of the Bismark Archipelago, a group of islands to the east of New Guinea.

Few of these masks are worn directly over the face, hence no eye holes.  A wicker structure is created to be worn during a spiritual dance and the mask is worn high.  They are said to represent the spirits of birds, animals or other natural phenomena.  When not in use, they are hung in the gables of the longhouses

This mask is from the mid-1900s and very rare in this form.  This is not an imitation or tourist piece.  It is, indeed, a one-of-a-kind mask in very good condition:  Museum Quality.

For the Serious Collector.

This RARE mask has been purchased.  Thank you C.R.


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