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Object Name: Mask
Place of Origin: New Ireland, Papua New Guinea
Date/Era: Late 19th-early 20th century
Medium/Materials: Wood, paint, seeds, plant fiber, snail shells
Credit Line: Gift of the Wellcome Trust.
Accession Number: X65.4366
Masks from the island of New Ireland in the southwestern Pacific Ocean are central to memorial rites called malagan, held to ease the transition of the soul into the world of the deceased. Some masks represent a specific person who has died. When these masks make their appearance at the rites, they call forth vivid memories of the deceased and publicly express the energy that the deceased person accumulated in life.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006