Bougainville or Nissan Island

Not on view

Masks are rare in the Solomon Islands and were only regularly made on Nissan, Buka, and Bougainville, the northernmost islands in the archipelago. This boldly painted mask, made of barkcloth stretched over a cane frame and worn over the head like a helmet, comes from the island of Bougainville. Masks similar in some respects to those of Bougainville occur on the nearby island of Nissan, where they represent a dangerous spirit named Kokorra. While the precise significance and imagery of this Bougainville mask is uncertain, the upraised ears, prominent brow ridge, wide staring eyes, and bared teeth indicate that it too may depict a fearsome spirit.

Mask, Barkcloth, paint, wood, bamboo, Bougainville or Nissan Island

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