Headdress (naute)

Oceanic, Abelam peoples
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified, Pacific Islander

Object Place: Papua New Guinea


Overall: 33.6 x 27 cm (13 1/4 x 10 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Plaited vine (Lygodium sp), pigment

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Harvest masquerades are central to the Abelam peoples of Papua New Guinea. The ceremony marks the conclusion of a harvest contest where farmers compete to grow the most spectacular yams, vegetables that also have strong symbolic meaning. Dancers wear plaited headdresses on such occasions, while the tubers themselves also receive adornment for their display, as they are transformed into images of clan ancestors.


1965, sold by Galerie Le Corneur et Roudillon, Paris to 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)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart