Mouth ornament

Bismarck Archipelago
New Ireland

Dance ornament for Malangan (Malagan) rituals

Carved wood (Alstonia), natural pigments, blue beads
Late 19th or early 20th century
Height: 4 ¼ in. (12 cm)
Length: 12 ¼ in. (31 cm)

Ex private collection of a Dutch artist

Published: Voyages… From the North Pacific to the South Pacific in the wake of Captain Cook, 2019

Price: on request

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This bird figure is a mouth ornament that was held between the teeth by a dancer or sometimes placed in the mouth of a mask during the ritual ceremonies of the Malangan (Malagan).
This refined sculpture is redolent with Surrealist poetry and dynamism.