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Kavat (night dance mask)

mid 20th century
collected 1965


Baining people

Papua New Guinea

  • Details

    Other Titles
    Kavat mask
    Place where the work was made
    Gazelle Peninsula East New Britain Province New Britain Papua New Guinea
    Cultural origin
    Baining people
    mid 20th century
    collected 1965
    Media categories
    Ceremonial object , Sculpture
    Materials used
    barkcloth, rattan frame, red and black natural pigments
    66.0 x 61.0 x 85.5 cm overall
    Purchased 1976
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Baining people

    Works in the collection


  • About

    'Kavat' masks are made of tapa cloth stretched over a rattan framework, and are painted black and red and sometimes also yellow. The distinguishing features of 'kavat' masks are out-size round eyes and a dangling or bent appendage below the mouth. Because of their form and, more importantly, because of the way they are painted, these masks are linked with various animals and plants. Leaf or pig spirits are represented in conjunction with flora and fauna encountered in the bush or hunted there, and many other animal motifs are also used.

    excerpt from Ingrid Heermann (ed.), 'Form colour inspiration: Oceanic art from New Britain', Arnoldsche, Stuttgart, 2001

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Baining people