Lot: 37

"Brag" spirit mask

Papua New Guinea, Lower Sepik, Murik

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
German Private Collection L: 18.3 inch 1500 EUR / 5000 EUR

wood, pigments, missing parts, rest. The "brag" spirit is characerised as male and warlike, seducing women and devouring young initiates before spitting them back to their mothers as adult men. The spirits of these masks are evoked during important occasions such as the building of a cult house or canoe. They were even consulted before headhunting raids. After a successful raid, the severed head of the victim was rubbed on the masks so they could "drink the blood"; the young men likewise "drank the blood" of the severed head to make them strong and fearless in battle.

Craig, Barry (ed.), Living spirits with fixed abodes, Honolulu 2010, p. 210 ff.