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    Description

    AN OCEANIC WOVEN AND PAINTED GABLE MASK
    Middle Sepik River, Papua, New Guinea, 20th century
    22-1/2 inches high x 15-1/2 inches wide (57.2 x 39.4 cm)

    The shield woven in a mask form in white, red and black stripes. The large community men's house was the central focus of ritual and everyday life for most males of the Sepik River watershed from middle youth onward. Men slept there lounged there, solved life's and the village's problems there, made objects both practical and sacred, and practiced there the often complex cyclical rituals that kept the world and their lives in order. Raised a number of feet above ground to avoid seasonal flooding, the elevation of these large structures (some were eighty to one hundred feet long and peaked at the front to thirty or forty feet) also aided in their becoming an overpowering physical manifestation of male potency and prestige. From the central apex of the front façade, the great gable mask - conceived as an apotropaic protector - looked down menacingly on all who came within a certain distance of the men's house. The masks in most cases probably represented the great clan mother, and in some areas the entire men's house was understood as the clan spirit's body, so that when inside the male residents were acting within the great mother's energizing womb. With such a broad range of symbolic functions, the imagery of such masks was developed to embody a variety of moods; the mood received depended on each individual's position within the group socio-cultural complex.

    From the Toledo Museum of Natural History

    Museum Inventory: # OCE001


    Condition Report*: With visible dessication to the back and loss of paint commensurate with age.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2012
    12th-13th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,109

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