Eastern Highlands Gourd Mask-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art
The gourd masks from Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highland Province are often elaborate affairs with lots of vegetal and other material attachments and almost grotesque expressions—which is not surprising as these masks can be used to represent the opposite of civil society to scare the young into proper behavior. What appeals to me on the present example is its relative minimalism with rounded surface, faint remains of pigments, clear cut circular eyes, an gaping mouth with sparse teeth and ringed overall with crop of dried fern. The mask has been in storage for nearly 50 years and this is the first time on the market. It is 14 ½” (36.8 cm) in height, dates to the mid 20th century and sells for $4800.