Lot 7
  • 7

Iatmul Dance Costume, Sepik River Region, Papua New Guinea

15,000 - 25,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • clay, straw, dirt, human hair
  • Height: 75 in (190.5 cm)


Richard Kaplan, New York
Private American collection, acquired from the above in the 1980s

Catalogue Note

According to Friede (2005: vol 2, 110): "Dance costumes of this general form are traditional in the Iatmul area.  Usually two such mask costumes, suspended from the roof construction, were kept at either end of the ceremonial house, reflecting the dual organization of the Iatmul whereby each of the two kinship groups (phratries) occupying the house owned such a mask costume.  The two masks were named after mythical ancestors called Mevamber-awan and Yen-awan (awan means something like "large mask costume") (Wirz 1959: 39-40).  The body of the mask has openings for the arms and it has a skirt of sago-leaf fiber which would only leave the feet and ankles of the dancer visible."

For a closely related mask see Kerchache 1967, no. 27.