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Mask (Kavat)

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.
MEDIUM Bark cloth, pigment, cane
DATES late 19th or early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 50 x 11 x 29 in. (127 x 27.9 x 73.7 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 1994.142
CREDIT LINE Gift of Thomas and Katherine Brush
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Central Baining (Uramot or Kairak Subgroup). 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
IMAGE overall, 1994.142_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION White, red, and black painted designs on bark cloth over a wooden frame. Circular opening in lower back of mask.
RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (83%)
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