Image: Spirit Faces: Sepik River

Spirit Faces: Sepik River

"This mask is from the lower Sepik River and is constructed from bone and feathers. While working on this mask I found that at some point a whole lot of insect larvae had started eating the feathers. These insects like to get into museum collections where they can chomp through our collections in peace. We have a number of safe guards in place for keeping these insects at bay, and a number of ways of getting rid of them if they do get in.

So luckily for this mask, those little bugs were killed before they could do much damage. Unluckily for me, I had the not very pleasant task of picking all the dead larvae out from amongst the feathers with tweezers and a magnifying glass."

- Sheldon Teare, Materials Conservation

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© Australian Museum

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