New Acquisitions

Kipong mask

Northern New Ireland

Carved wood (alstonia), natural pigments
fibers and turbo operculum
19th century
Height: 12 ½ in. (32 cm)

Field-collected by Otto Finsch (1839-1917)
in Northern New Ireland between 1879 and 1882
Ex collection Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin,
inv. #VI 6197
Ex collection Arthur Speyer II (1894-1958), Berlin, 1936
Ex collection Robert Rousset (1901-1981) before 1940, France
By descent

Published in: Ferocious Poetry, Ancient Arts of New Ireland, 2019

Price: on request

Melanesia – Eastern Papua New Guinea
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In its zone of origin, this mask was known as a Kipong or Vanis mask, and was probably used to take away taboos before a Malagan funeral ceremony. Masks sharing these characteristics exist in the north of New Ireland to the village of Hamba, to the contreforts of Mandak territory. Bearing the inventory number VI 6197, this mask entered the collections of the Berlin Museum in 1883 in the middle of a series of 4 masks (VI6196, VI6199, VI6200, VI6201) and a mouth ornament, VI6198, all collected at Nusa or Kapsu. We can suppose that mask VI6197 must have the same origins. (Since the archives of the Berlin Museum have been closed for over 2 years, we have not been able to verify the listings for the moment for our reference VI6197). We can point to two masks published by Helfrich in 1973, collected between Fissoa and Hemba in 1905 end 1887.