Arts of the Pacific Islands
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.
Bark cloth, pigment, cane
late 19th or early 20th century
50 x 11 x 29 in. (127 x 27.9 x 73.7 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of Thomas and Katherine Brush
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Baining. Mask (Kavat), late 19th or early 20th century. Bark cloth, pigment, cane, 50 x 11 x 29 in. (127 x 27.9 x 73.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Thomas and Katherine Brush, 1994.142. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1994.142_SL3.jpg)
overall, 1994.142_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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White, red, and black painted designs on bark cloth over a wooden frame. Circular opening in lower back of mask.
Condition: good, stitching evident on many parts of the mask, these are not repairs but part of construction
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