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.
Barkcloth, pigment, cane
late 19th or early 20th century
50 x 11 x 29 in. (127 x 27.9 x 73.7 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Thomas and Katherine Brush
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
This item is not on view
Central Baining (Uramot or Kairak Subgroup). Mask (Kavat), late 19th or early 20th century. Barkcloth, 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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