This is a stunning well carved very old Nukuma Washkuk Spirit Dance Yam Cult Mask from the Upper Sepik region of Papua New Guinea. This stunning organic very old spirit dance mask is extremely well carved with a convex facial plane, the nose carved as phallic and classical of the Nukuma Washkuk, the eyes as small nubs and with simple smiling mouth. This zoomorphic figure is from the Upper Sepik area in Papua New Guinea and would have been used in spirit dances as part of the Yam Cult Harvests and Festivals. This is a fine very old spirit dance mask and is of far higher quality than is usually found and is truly a museum quality organic piece. The piece still showcase signs of it decorated ochres and has been flame dried over an open fire showcasing it’s early origins. The estimated age of the piece is between 1970’s to 1980’s.
The Kwoma and Nukuma live in the foothills of the hill country rising from Ambunti. Like the Abelam, they practice a life-defining Yam cult. But while the Abelam do their utmost to breed the individual yam roots as long as possible - the longest are just under 4m long - the Kwoma and Nukuma pile up huge piles of yams and decorate these piles with yena dance sticks, rods and masks by arranging them in the heap , Compare this with Figure 39 in the brochure of the Museum of Ethnology in Basel by Christian Kaufmann: “About Art and Culture at the Kwoma and Nukuma".
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