Bark cloth mask
Object Place: Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Overall: 97 x 80 x 50 cm (38 3/16 x 31 1/2 x 19 11/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Wicker, bark cloth, pigment
Not On View
Even today, masquerades play an important part in Baining ceremonial life, and Baining artists create spectacular masks, most of which represent spirit beings-here the spirit of a tree fork. At times masquerades are staged especially for visitors. Westerners, attracted by the dramatic arrangements and startling effects of Baining masks, began collecting them in the late nineteenth century, even though such masks were commonly meant to be discarded in their traditional context.
red plastic label under chin:"100"
1954, acquired in Rabaul, New Britain, Papua New Guinea by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)
Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart