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Title

Baba tagwa mask

collected 1965


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

An Abelam 'baba tagwa' mask is made from rattan through coiling, built up from a circular cane frame at neck level. This is often painted with natural earth pigments around the eye areas and with geometric patterns around the side of the mask.

During tambuan ceremonies, the wearer of the mask has a costume of shredded sago palm fronds that conceals dancer's identity. A garland of inedible bright orange and green fruit, called 'mban', is sometimes worn around the collar of the mask and leaves are often woven into the openwork of the crest and hung from the loop at the end of the nose. The wearer of the costume act as both a clown and policeman to keep the uninitiated from witnessing certain events.

The 'baba' figure is found throughout the Abelam area but the style of the helmet mask varies from region to region.


Details


Other Title

Helmet mask


Cultural origin

Abelam people


Date

collected 1965


Materials used

coil-woven plant fibre, earth pigments


Dimensions

43.0 cm height


Credit

Purchased 1965


Location

Not on display


Accession number

389.1994