Dance Costume (Ceremonial) -
Medium: Cane, wood, cassowary feathers, fiber, earth pigments
Dimensions: H. 85
Origin: Tambanaman Village, Sepik, New Guinea
Provenance: James Pongrass Collection, Argyle Primitive Arts, 1973, Sydney, Australia
Exhibited: University of New Orleans , New Orleans 1975, Pelham von Stoffler Gallery, Houston 1978, Private Museum, Xiamen, China 2011
Dance Costume (Initiation). Tambanaman Village, Middle Sepik, New Guinea. Cane, wood, cassowary feathers, fiber, earth pigments. H. 85". Argyle Primitive Arts, Sydney, Australia 1973. (Price on Request)
Exhibitions: University of New Orleans New 1975, Pelham von Stoffler Gallery, Houston 1978, Private Museum Xiamen, China 2011
The Middle Sepik peoples are located along the Sepik River on the northern coast of New Guinea. Many styles have evolved from this region, but all have the conspicuous common feature of the expression of spirit content id forms of both ancestral and supernatural character. The objects and masks of these clans represent the spiritual sources of power, strength and vitality, and each clan is controlled by heritage. Double-faced masks of this kind play an important role in initiation and rights of passage ceremonies. All-male secret societies function to maintain traditional sacred order and only the members of such societies may participate in initiation ceremonies and ware this mask. The conical-shaped mask is worn over the body; the two raffia-covered rectangles at the base ruction as armholes and the raffia costume attached to t he base conceals the remainder of the wearer's body. Worthy of note are the typical large round pupils, distinctly bent nose, woven tongue and feathers (still with resin) encircling the clay covers faces.
Similar masks may be seen in "The Arts of the South Sea Islands" by Buehler, Barrow & Mountford, "Arts of the South pacific", by Guiart, and in the collection of the Museum Fur Volkerkunde, Basle.
Sources: "The Arts of the South Sea Islands" by Buehler, Barrow & Mountford, "Arts of the South pacific", by Guiart.