The   Abelam   people   (app.   40.000   souls)   live   on   the   forested plains   in   northern   Papua   New   Guinea.   They   link   spiritual   well- being   and   material   survival   in   one   cosmology,   which   focuses in part on their staple vegetable crop: yams. At   harvest   they   decorate   large   yams   which   can   grow   to   two and   three   metres   long.   The   decorated   yams   are   displayed publicly   and   are   exchanged   between   men.   When   decorated, the yams represent ancestral spirits called Nggwal. Nggwal    spirits    do    not    act    by    themselves,    but    must    be encouraged    with    offerings,    chants    and    decorations.    The decorations   used   on   long   yams   like   this,   include   tightly   woven painted   masks.   Yam   masks   were   therefore   made   to   decorate a long yam and to enable it to embody a Nggwal spirit. Baba   masks   (also   called   helmet   masks   or   dance   masks)   also play   an   important   role   in   the   yam-,   ancestor-   and   initiation   cult of    the    Abelam.    Baba    masks    are    made    from    native    plant material with applied natural pigment decoration. Source: The British Museum, London
Yam and Baba masks from Papua New Guinea
Baba Mask. Height 40 cm. Code 304. Yam Mask. SOLD. Yam Mask. SOLD. Yam Mask. Height 25 cm. Code 354. SOLD. Yam Mask. Height  46 cm. Code 382. Yam Mask. Height 35 cm. Code 378. Yam Mask. SOLD. Yam Mask. SOLD. Yam Mask. Height 34 cm. Code 301. Yam Mask. Height 18 cm. Code 303. Yam Mask. Height 21 cm. Code 304. Yam Mask. Height 38 cm. Code 305. Yam Mask. Height 31 cm. Code 307. Yam Mask. Height 21 cm. Code 306.
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