Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn

Kavat Mask

Worn during spectacular night dances, this helmet mask represents a leaf spirit, one of the many bush spirits depicted by kavat bark-cloth masks. The mask is formed by stretching bark cloth over a thin cane frame. The pigments that decorate these masks have general symbolic associations: red with masculinity, reminiscent of the flames through which the mask dances at night; black with femininity, the soot of cooking fires, and fertile earth; and white with the spirit world.