PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Yam Ancestral Mask (PM022)
Description of item:
Abelam yam ancestral mask, fiber & natural earth pigments; excellent and unique gallery display; early 1900’s.
Height: 28.5 cm (11 inches)
Width: 21 cm (8 inches)
Depth: 14 cm (5.5 inches)
Beautiful, important example of Abelam yam mask for regenerate ceremonies.
An Abelam man’s social status is determined not only by his abilities as an orator and a warrior; it is also measured by his success in growing long yams, the cultivation of which is a sacred activity, surrounded by magic and ritual restrictions. The shared imagery of the decorated long yams, human performers and wood images reflect the spiritual unity among yams, men and nggwalndu (powerful clan spirits) in the Abelam cosmology.
Kjellgren, E. ‘Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’, (2007: 65-66).
Collected by Lubo Todorov in the 1970’s.