Ancestor/spirit mask

Description:
A mask with red-brown and black facial decoration, cowrie shell eyes and a hooked nose. The jaw line from the hair down, including the chin, has a characteristic pattern. The hair/headdress has the same pattern disposed each side of a central motif in the form of a bird whose head projects above the outline of the mask. Just below the projecting bird's head, on each side, there are holes for hanging.


Context:
Masks tend to represent ancient ancestors. The ancestor's protective spirit is evoked when the mask is used in dance rituals. Bird carvings are common on Sepik masks and other objects. The pattern of an oval with 'ripples' either side is also frequently seen.