Dance Mask with Bird Totem
On View In:

Artist:   Ngavimeli  
Title:   Dance Mask with Bird Totem  
Date:   20th century  
Medium:   Rattan, feathers, pigment  
Dimensions:   31 x 43 x 49 in. (78.74 x 109.22 x 124.46 cm)  
Credit Line:   The Miscellaneous Works of Art Fund-Claims on Losses  
Location:   Gallery Not on view  

This dance mask, made by Ngavimeli, an Iatmul artist from New Guinea, was worn during ceremonies to honor deceased members of the community. Two dancers, concealed under a costume of plant fibers, typically wore the mask together. It is one of two masks, danced as a pair, representing ferocious eagles who were killed for causing destruction in the village. As revenge for their deaths, their brother, a crocodile spirit, brought devastating floods to the region. The frigate bird on top of the mask, a common image in Iatmul art, is believed to be an intermediary between the living world and the realmn of the ancestors.

Name:   Ngavimeli  
Nationality:   Papuan  

Object Description  
Classification:   Sculpture  
Creation Place:   Oceania, Papua New Guinea, Middle Sepik River, ,  
Accession #:   73.3  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts