This is a wonderful 1980's Wood Carved Mwai Mask from Angoram village in Papua New Guinea. This mask represents a mythical ancestor half human half bird. This area is. This mask is represented as pairs of mythical brothers and sisters of the clan, and they are the teachers in the young men's initiation ceremonies. Mwai masks represent the spirits of totemic names. Names are very sacred in Papua New Guinea. No one actually says anyone's real name, including their own, for fear of drawing the attention of bad spirits or sorcerers. During initiation ceremonies these masks are fastened to large, conical dance costumes worn by village elders who perform the rituals that transform boys into men. The elder who wears the Mwai mask becomes a spirit teacher who may say the important totemic names without evoking personal risk. He tells and calls out names for use in magic, for healing and for other spiritual uses. These names number in the thousands and only powerful men have this knowledge. This is very unique mask and would be a wonderful addition to your collection or home.
COMES ON STAND
Shows age, loss of paint, has native repairs on the right side of the forehead, but overall in good condition.
26 1/2" tall on Stand
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