The Juban/Chubwan masks from the Vanuatu archipelago make up a small and varied corpus. These masks, which are little documented and belong to traditions that are now extinct, probably played an important role in the Tebat na Lobune rituals, recalling the sacred link between men and yams, and during the transition of initiated men to the highest rank. (Huffman in Bonnemaison, Vanuatu, 1996, p. 23 and 24).
They are usually subdivided into two styles, the archetypes of which were collected by Speiser between 1910 and 1912 and are now kept at the Museum für Völkerkunde in Basel: the former has a very narrow face (inv. No. Vb 4560); the latter has a large oval face, with lips that emphasize the curve of the chin and stretch out to the temples (inv. No. Vb 4562). The piece at hand, which belongs to the first style, stands out for its two-dimensional sculpted face, the remarkably forceful features that find a counterpoint in the beauty of the forms with their uncertain contours.
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