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 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. Late 20th-Century COMES ON STAND Shows age, loss of paint, but overall in good condition. 26 1/2" tall on Stand Mask 20" tall 6" wide 4" deep AT BACARA WE STAND BEHIND ALL OF OUR MERCHANDISE. YOUR SATISFACTION IS OUR MAIN GOAL, AND WE THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AT BACARA. The item "Papua New Guinea Mask Mwai Angorman Village Initiation Mwai Shell Clay Mask" is in sale since Wednesday, May 29, 2019.
This item is in the category "Antiques\Ethnographic\Pacific Islands & Oceania". The seller is "bacara-online" and is located in Overland Park, Kansas. This item can be shipped worldwide.