Mask, Southern Pentecost Island, Vanuatu
height 9 1/2in (24.1cm)
John J. Klejman, New York
Morton and Estelle Sosland, Kansas City
The large bulbous forehead balanced above the rounded nose with pierced septum, together with the pierced eyes below horizontal folds, elongated cheeks and diminutive nose can be seen in two other known examples, one in the Museum für Völkerkunde Basel, inv. no. Vb 4561, collected by Feliz Speiser between 1910-12, and another from a Private Collection, collected by the Reverend Alexander Morton between 1887-1892, sold Sotheby's, Paris, June 11, 2008, lot 57.
According to Bonnemaison (1996: pp 19-25), "these rare masks were carved for one of the most sacred and secret ceremonies which died out in the 1920's. The ceremony is believed to have been held for the benefit of yams and humans and was held by non-dancing participants."