Kanak Mask
New Caledonia, 19th century
PROVENANCE: Mathias Kormor Gallery, NYC, Label with inventory number is still visible on back of mask. D966.

This very old mask from the Kanak of New Caledonia would have been part of a costume, worn by chiefs during funerary ceremonies. The face is alluringly expressive. Great care has been given to the minute details such as the curvature of the cheeks and forehead. The nose, eyes, mouth, and teeth are expertly carved. The downcast eyes are incredibly dramatic, further asserting the masks use as a costume for performance reasons. The holes surrounding the face were once used to affix a feather headdress. The mask may have been painted at one time, as the face is a darker color than the rest of the mask. The wood itself is clearly old and has developed a rich red/orange patina. A mask in this condition is very rare. The majority of them were destroyed by colonial missionaries in the early 19th century. Those on the market today are usually missing the pointed top. Height: 18 3/4"
IN 12-6-13 / SOLD