Image: Kovave mask from Papua New Guinea

Kovave mask from Papua New Guinea

Initiates among the Elema people wore these masks in kovave or kaiva kuku initiation ceremonies. The masks also incorporated clan totems, such as a fish, bird or turtle. This example has a storm lamp at its top and, in addition to natural pigments, used Reckitt’s Blue laundry whitening powder.

Carl Bento
© Australian Museum


Australian Museum Collection E23153
Parimono, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea
Purchased in 1915
Cane, pith, bark cloth, natural pigment, synthetic pigment

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