This a fabulous fine woven natural pigment Abelam Headdress Yam Mask from the Abelam Tribe of the East Sepik in Papua New Guinea. A Yam Headdress such as this would have been placed behind yam masks while on display for the ceremonial exchange of the village’s largest yams, and are made exclusively to adorn long yams grown for exchange and social status. Each man has a permanent exchange partner to whom he ceremonially presents his largest yams following the annual harvest, later receiving those of his rival in return. Men who are consistently able to give their partners longer yams than they receive gain great prestige. Men weave the yam masks with human and animal characteristics and then typically cover them with clay pigment and dyes. The application of paint animates the finished mask; paint is the trans-formative ingredient that changes the status of the mask from an inanimate thing to living spirit. This mask is a unique example of Papua New Guinea art and the meaning it has in their lives..This is a rare and unique one of a kind mask and is a stunning piece of art. Field collected. Late 20th century.