Lot n° 16
1000 - 2000
Baining population, New Britain,... - Lot 16 - Giquello
Baining population, New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago
Wood, tapa, rattan and pigments
H. 52 cm - L. 59 cm
Spectacular mask with hypnotic gaze from New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago north of Papua New Guinea.
Baining groups occupy the mountainous interior of the Gazelle Peninsula, where they probably retreated under pressure from neighboring Tolai from New Ireland. The Baining's large, beaten bark masks are iconic works of Oceanic art. Used for daytime ceremonies marking the start of a new planting cycle, and then for night-time dances, they embody bush spirits.
Traditionally, masks were made by initiated men. They were made from rattan and split bamboo, with a frame to match the dancer's morphology. Wet bark cloth was sewn onto this frame so that it would take on the desired shape once dry; then the whole was painted with natural pigments.
While the masks hid the heads, the dancers' bodies were blackened with a mixture of honey and charcoal. The use of other colors, herbs covering the calves and bark cloth penis cases helped to render the bodies unrecognizable, giving the impression that one was facing the wild spirits of the bush.
Consistent with condition and age. A few tears, the hanging jaw frame shows an internal fracture.
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