Thin face with pointed beak-like open mouth; pointed tongue; upper and lower sections and ears covered with shells; PL side of eye region yellowish, PR side of eye region red; each ear has three pointed metal earrings and loose fibers; hair fragments at top

Mei Mask, c. 1920

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This 'mei' mask represents a male ancestor of a Iatmul clan and would have been used for male initiation ceremonies. The elaborate design of encrusted cowrie shells frames the two-toned face and covers the beak-like mouth. When worn for a ceremonial dance, the mask was part of a large costume decorated with feathers, leaves, and other ornaments. Mei masks belonged to the clan and were stored in the homes of clan elders when not in use.

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Iatmul Mei Mask (#299)
Details
Title
Mei Mask
Role
Artist
Accession Number
99.39
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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Thin face with pointed beak-like open mouth; pointed tongue; upper and lower sections and ears covered with shells; PL side of eye region yellowish, PR side of eye region red; each ear has three pointed metal earrings and loose fibers; hair fragments at top