New Guinea

1969.86.jpg

Description

Yam Mask
woven reeds, plaited basketry, pigment
10 x 4 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.
This yam mask comes from the Abelam culture, an agrarian society residing in the tropical rainforests of Papua New Guinea. Composed of woven reeds and coated in pigments associated with death and vitality, masks like this would be displayed during ceremonial occasions in observation of the annual harvest. During these festivities men compete to determine who can grow the largest yam, indicating a successful crop return. The greatest yam of all receives this special mask type, which are created to honor the life-giving food staple and are not meant for human adornment. In Melanesia yams are regarded as sacreda living embodiment of the ancestors, that require reverence and proper supplication.

Date

n.d.

Creator

New Guinea

Source

Gift of UCSB Art Affiliates

Identifier

1969.86

Collection

Citation

New Guinea, “New Guinea,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed October 5, 2022, http://art-collections.museum.ucsb.edu/items/show/7340.