View full screen - View 1 of Lot 16. Baining Mask, Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea.
16

Baining Mask, Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea

Estimate:

8,000 - 12,000 USD

Baining Mask, Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea

Baining Mask, Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea

Estimate:

8,000 - 12,000 USD

Authenticity guarantee

What is guaranteed?

Baining Mask, Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea


Height: 31 1/8 in (79 cm); Width: 34 in (86.4 cm)

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European Private Collection
Christie’s, Amsterdam, May 24, 2000, lot 159, consigned by the above
Private Collection, Maui, acquired at the above auction

The Baining are one of the two major cultural groups living on the island of New Britain. Of the many subgroups that constitute the Baining, the Uramot and the Kairak living in the center of the Gazelle Peninsula were historically the only two to practice night dances with barkcloth masks, the most complex portable object that they created.


There are two primary types of Baining night dance mask: the kavat, which is a helmet mask, and the vungvung, which is a massive mask with at least one long, axial bamboo pole travelling its length. Both types are relatively lightweight, in large part due to being constructed from pounded bark cloth laid out over a bamboo-cane frame. Raffia is used to lash the frame together and to attach the various components of larger masks to one another. These masks are made exclusively by men and are performed during fire dances, which serve as initiation rituals between three distinct age-initiation tiers. Children begin by creating small lingan barkcloth headdresses, young men create kavat, and only the most skilled men create vungvung.