Romkun, Breri, or Igana people
Not on view
This mask was probably created by the Romkun, Breri, or Igana peoples of the Ramu and Guam Rivers, whose masking traditions are largely undocumented. The pierced eyes and small holes on its periphery, probably used to secure it to a larger basketry headdress, indicate it was likely a dance mask. Dance masks among the neighboring Kominimung people have similar imagery and possibly served similar functions. Worn by initiated men during ritual performances, Kominimung dance masks depict bwongogo, ancestral spirits responsible for the success of important activities such as gardening, hunting, fishing, and formerly, warfare. Women and children are not allowed to witness the creation of the masks. However, the entire community may watch the performance of the masked dancers.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.