VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Initiation mask tumbun
MAIP 4279
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This mask, in a shape of a stylized human head, with the features of a bird’s head, has a lot of stylistic similarities with dancing and ceremonial masks from the other regions of Middle Sepik/Kanduanum, Kararau, and Kamindibit. This mask is especially valuable because of the rarity of occurrence of objects having this function. It is the only example in the collection of the Asia and Pacific Museum.

History of the Object
Magdalena Abakanowicz purchased this mask during one of her journeys to Oceania.

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Type
Costume and Jewelry 
Materials
Reed fibre, feathers of cassowary, coloured clay, plaitwork, polychromy 
Measurements
Width 78 cm Height 69 cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Papua New Guinea, Middle Sepik, region of Blackwater 
Geography
Papua New Guinea 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
20th Century; 2nd half 
Function
According to the record of the donor, this mask was worn during the ritual killings of apprehended enemies. However, more probable was its use in initiation rituals. 
Acquisition
This mask was obtained in 1978 as a gift from Magdalena Abakanowicz - a famous Polish sculptor, regarded as being one of the most important and influential female artists of the 20th century. She is notable for her use of textiles as a sculptural medium as well as stone, wood and bronze. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw 
Museum
Asia and Pacific Museum 
Credit line
 

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