A Tami Islands mask height 15in
Lot 2006
A rare Tami Islands balum cult mask, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea
US$ 15,000 - 20,000
£8,800 - 12,000
Lot Details
A rare Tami Islands balum cult mask, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea
height 15in

Provenance:
David Rosenthal, San Francisco
Private Collection, California
Casey Conway

cf. Meyer, 1995, figure 161 for a similar example.

According to Kaeppler, Kaufman & Newton, "The balum cult involves both the pursuit of the energy of souls following death and the appearance, amid the whirring of bull-roarers, of an illustrious spirit in the course of balum inter-regional festivals, which are held every ten to eighteen years. The balum ceremonial also includes, in addition to the construction of a special cult house, the sacrifice of domestic pigs, and the initiation of young boys (including circumcision), which is followed by a a period of seclusion during which traditional knowledge is passed on to them. In initiation contexts, a large mask with an imposing wooden face seems to play a pivotal role." (1993, page 590).

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