Image: Funerary mask from Papua New Guinea

Funerary mask from Papua New Guinea

Men wore these masks during funerary ceremonies in Northern New Ireland. Many of the mask’s features depict death: the lime paste and spikes resemble an old man’s white hair, the shell-bead eyes bulge from the rest of the head, and the snake above them represents death.

Carl Bento
© Australian Museum


Australian Museum Collection E546
Northern New Ireland, Papua New Guinea
Purchased in 1887
Wood, shell, hardwood spikes, rattan twine, lime, red ochre, black paint, coconut husk

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