Collections: Arts of the Pacific Islands: Mask (Ges)

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Fragmentary Statue of a Figure with Kyphosis

Despite the lack of true portraiture and the apparent tendency toward a strict “ideal” in Egyptian art, the realistic depiction ...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Forest Scene

    For Diaz, like so many of the Barbizon painters, the Fontainebleau Forest outside of Paris proved a constant source of inspiration. In these...

     

    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.

    close

    84.58_SL1.jpg CUR.84.58_print_front_bw.jpg CUR.84.58_print_back_bw.jpg CUR.84.58_print_threequarter_bw.jpg

    Mask (Ges)

    This powerful mask probably represents a ges spirit, a potent and, in this case, probably a destructive spirit force that dwells in the bush. These spirits are said to attack humans who inadvertently see them. The protrusion from the mouth of this mask may represent the liver of a ges victim. Another interpretation, however, holds that it is a protruding tongue, warning of danger to anyone who sought to copy the design of the mask. The nosepiece is a subtle and highly abstract version of the theme of bird and snake in struggle, one of the most common themes in New Ireland sculpture and dance performance. The bird is said to represent the spirit world, while the snake represents the world of mortals—two realms locked in an eternal cosmic struggle.

    • Medium: Wood, fiber (Turbo petholatus opercula), pigment
    • Place Made: Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea
    • Dates: 19th century
    • Dimensions: 23 1/2 x 11 3/4 x 15 3/4 in. (59.7 x 29.8 x 40 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Arts of the Pacific Islands
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 84.58
    • Credit Line: Gift of Frieda and Milton Rosenthal
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Mask (Ges), 19th century. Wood, fiber (Turbo petholatus opercula), pigment, 23 1/2 x 11 3/4 x 15 3/4 in. (59.7 x 29.8 x 40 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Frieda and Milton Rosenthal, 84.58. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: 3/4 front, CUR.84.58_print_threequarter_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Catalogue Description: Description: Carved and painted wooden mask with fiber hair and beard attached. The carving is in the Malanggane style with emphasis on negative space; eyes protrude with linear, feather-like elements extending with the top lid; the nose is ornamented with a stylized bird; ears are elongated with triangular holes in the lower lobes and feather-like extensions above the head. Forehead and teeth are prominently carved in relief and painted black. The tongue, painted red, extends to a fraction below the jaw and then rises up in triangular shape to meet the nose. Eye balls are represented by inlaid opercula shell. Only the nostrils and sides of the mouth are perforated. The face, nose, and bird element are covered with fine-line designs in red, black and white. Condition: Minor repairs have been made in several places; overall loss of paint, the beard hangs loose on proper right side. The piece is on a modern metal stand.
    • Record Completeness: Best (82%)
    advanced 106,636 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."




    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.