Malakula. <em>Shield Mask (Nekempao)</em>, 20th century. Tree fern, vegetal-fiber paste, bamboo, pigment, 42 x 13 1/2 x 7 3/4 in. (106.7 x 34.3 x 19.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of David R. Markin, 72.49.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 72.49.1_bw.jpg)

Shield Mask (Nekempao)


Medium: Tree fern, vegetal-fiber paste, bamboo, pigment

Geograhical Locations:

Dates:20th century

Dimensions: 42 x 13 1/2 x 7 3/4 in. (106.7 x 34.3 x 19.7 cm)


Accession Number: 72.49.1

Image: 72.49.1_bw.jpg,

Catalogue Description:
Shield with stylized face at the top: eyebrows indicated; long protruding nose with a tube-like opening horizontally run thru septum; projecting tubular eyes; curved 'tusk' like projections are attached at sides of face. Mouth is oval indentation. Ridged headdress-like area at top of head. Body of shield has black painted geometric markings and two "V" shaped indentations outlined in black. Naval indicated in center of shield; the center of the naval is painted white. The shield is composed of tree fern, covered with clay, and painted with earth pigments: light brick pink, white and black. The tusks are added and have a plant fiber base covered by mud and pigment. The reverse side of the shield has no decorations and has remains of tree bark patterns. Condition: very fragile; mud surface badly crackled; both tusk-like armatures broken at top, one tubular eye is loose. Crackle over entire area does not penetrate fern structure except as noted, about attachment of nose, eyes and tusks.

Brooklyn Museum