Ɵ Dance Mask, Ambrym Island, Vanuatu, Melanesia
Wood, pigments and vegetable fibres
H. 29,2cm - W. 19,7 cm - D. 19,1 cm
Vanuatu Dance Mask, Ambrym Island, Melanesia
H. 11 1/2 in - W. 7 3/4 in - W. 7 1/2 in
- Staatliches Museum fur Volkerkunde, Munich
- Ludwig Bretschneider, Munich, 1956
- Marie-Ange Ciolkowska, Paris, 1958
- E. Hepburn, Paris
- Private collection
- Hélène and Henri Kamer, Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Palais Miramar, Cannes, 1957, no.
- Wilhelm Hausenstein, Barbaren und Klassiker, 1922, cover and p. 30.
- First International Retrospective Exhibition of African and Oceanic Arts: Palais Miramar, Cannes, France, July 6 - September 29, 1957, no. 390.
- Anthony J.P Meyer, Oceanic Art, Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft, Cologne, 1995, vol. 2, pg. 412.
This Vanuatu dance mask is particularly old and is reproduced on the cover in Hausenstein's "Barbaren und Klassiker" in 1922. Like the majority of masks from this region, formerly known as the New Hebrides, it is made of light materials, probably the wood of a tree fern and the long fibre of a banana tree tied around the mask's circumference. It consists of a prominent forehead dominated by a ridge, which overhangs a flat face, structured by wide, deep eyes and a triangular nose, very much in relief.
The mask is covered with a vegetal coating, partially ornamented with blue, white and red lines. "According to some authors, this mask was the property of a secret association, imported from the nearby island of Malekula, whose members mystified and terrorized the uninitiated. ... These masks [are] considered to be the representation of the deities..." cf. Masterpieces of the Museum of Man, 1965, p.142.
Location of the item France - 75008 Paris