Ramu/Sepik Fiber Face Mask
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Ramu/Sepik Fiber Face Mask

Galerie Meyer-Oceanic Art

Period Early 20th century

Origin Lower Sepik Region, PNG, Melanesia

Dimension 24 x 25 x 11 cm (9¹/₂ x 9⁷/₈ x 4³/₈ inches)

Rare form of mask or facial ornament composed of a face with broad smile surmounted by a crest of dogs teeth. A nasal ornament made of a piece of polished giant clam shell pierces the septum. This type of mask is little known in the literature and its exact use remains relatively mysterious, although it was probably worn during so-called naven ceremonies. Fiber, tradecloth, vegetable fiber, shells (nassa) and Giant Clam shell, coconut, dog teeth and red ocher. Patina of wear, repairs and deficiencies in conformity with use (missing a tie).

Period: Early 20th century

Origin: Lower Sepik Region, PNG, Melanesia

Dimension: 24 x 25 x 11 cm (9¹/₂ x 9⁷/₈ x 4³/₈ inches)

Provenance: Purchased from John Gabo. Chief of the Zamengen clan of the Awar village located on the east coast of the mouth of the Ramu River. Kumen Language Group. The mask is called "U'Panim" and / or "Kumen". Information supplied by Joel Gauvin & Angel Bottaro, Australia.

Literature: See the two photographs circa 1930/40 showing a group of dancers wearing fiber "U'Panim" masks near Madang, PNG. Photographer unknown. MEL.PNG.049 & MEL.PNG.050. Coll. Anthony JP Meyer

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Galerie Meyer-Oceanic Art

Tribal Art dealer specializing in early Oceanic Art since 1980 and archaic Eskimo Art since 2010

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