Dance Mask with Bird Totem, 20th century

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This dance mask, made by Ngavimeli, an Iatmul artist from New Guinea, was worn during ceremonies to honor deceased members of the community. Two dancers, concealed under a costume of plant fibers, typically wore the mask together. It is one of two masks, danced as a pair, representing ferocious eagles who were killed for causing destruction in the village. As revenge for their deaths, their brother, a crocodile spirit, brought devastating floods to the region. The frigate bird on top of the mask, a common image in Iatmul art, is believed to be an intermediary between the living world and the realmn of the ancestors.

Dance Mask with Bird Totem
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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