From the Warehouse > Woven & Plaited Ceremonial Masks

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Helmet Mask, Babakumbu, Abelam people, Wosera area - #7912


Helmet Mask, Abelam people, Wosera area. Helmet masks, called babakumbu, are made of woven rattan and painted in bright colors. They are made by the men of the Abelam tribe as ancestral religious power centers and are used for healing, power, initiation, and harvest festivals.

Large skirts of split sago palm leaves are attached to the bottom part of the mask to form a striking costume.  Colorful feathers, leaves, and a necklace of bright red and green inedible fruit complete the costume. The Babakumbu dancer keeps women, children, and the uninitiated away from important ceremonial areas. At initiation ceremonies these same dancers confront the initiates and guests in a threatening and violent manner. Eventually the initiates´ chase the spirits back into the forest.

This is one of the most unique babas I have ever seen. It has that large headdress at the top with a small woven bird stuck through an opening at the very top. Painted with several layers of paint. It must have been quite imposing when attached to the costume. It is 27 inches tall.

It sells for $1500

Shipping within the US is free. Contact me for shipping outside the US.

Inquire or order: #7912

To purchase this piece, or if you have any questions about it, Email Joe, call:
1-800-335-0275 or 605-342-5873 or use the form below.

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Please note: All New Guinea artifacts are one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale.
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