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Bruce Frank Primitive Art
New York City, NY
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Yam Mask

Abelam, Papua New Guinea
Early 20th Century

Provenance: Allen Wardwell collection, New Jersey
This woven cane mask from the Southern Abelam area was used to cover long yams during a ceremony to promote a productive agricultural season. Yams were named for a particular ancestral spirit, which is brought into being and represented by the mask’s decoration. The intricacy of the weave is still clearly seen on this particular mask, most notably at the top and along the zigzag patterning of the coiffure. Original red, yellow, and white pigments are visible on the mask’s façade. Not many masks of this age exist in such a complete condition, due to the fragile nature of the organic material used.

Yam Mask

Abelam, Papua New Guinea
Early 20th Century

Provenance: Allen Wardwell collection, New Jersey
This woven cane mask from the Southern Abelam area was used to cover long yams during a ceremony to promote a productive agricultural season. Yams were named for a particular ancestral spirit, which is brought into being and represented by the mask’s decoration. The intricacy of the weave is still clearly seen on this particular mask, most notably at the top and along the zigzag patterning of the coiffure. Original red, yellow, and white pigments are visible on the mask’s façade. Not many masks of this age exist in such a complete condition, due to the fragile nature of the organic material used.

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