Image: Owl head mask from Papua New Guinea

Owl head mask from Papua New Guinea

Owl head masks appeared in dance performances representing the birth, life and death of the owl. Traditional rights to wear these masks for performances were probably sold from one village to the next, with the original village retaining performance rights. The masks were used in northern New Ireland from the 1830s to the 1930s.
 

Photographer:
Carl Bento
Rights:
© Australian Museum

Notes

Australian Museum Collection E525
Notsi, Northern New Ireland, Papua New Guinea
Purchased in 1887
Wood, shell, pith, lime, red ochre, cambium, black paint, barkcloth

 

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