kavat mask

J-shaped Baining mask in the shape of a leech, constructed on a scaffold of bamboo that widens towards the conical end, and splits into an open mouth with a lenticular hole. Much of the length is painted red with a blood pigment in a series of barred lozenges outlined in black. At the narrow end, the mask terminates in a tassel of leaf strips. Used in a langani ceremony, the Kavat mask is made of bamboo, bark cloth, and red and black pigment. The kavat is a tree dwelling spirit with bird-like features, including a duck-like bill and a crop. The enlarged eyes emphasise the mask's sorrow, and the red and black triangular elements beneath the eye symbolise tears. Papua New Guinea.

Collection Information

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