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Dance Mask with Bird Totem: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
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.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009