Lot: 29

Dance crest "rom" for the "rom kòn" ceremony, 19th/ 20th century

Vanuatu, Ambrym Island

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Christie's, New York, 20 November 1997, Lot 195
Cornette de Saint Cyr, Paris, 21 June 2016, Lot 78
Millon et Associés, Nice, 29 September 2018, Lot 143
H: 28 inch 6000 EUR / 12000 EUR

balsa wood, palm leaf sheath, vegetable paste, colour pigments, hemp, feathers, Many "rom" masks were destroyed after use, which is why very few examples exist in western collections and why there is little reliable information about the different mask types and their use to date. Some "rom" masks are said to have been associated with secret male societies that regulated almost all aspects of Vanuatu social life. They were only displayed to initiates while others were used in public displays and pantomime. Two comparable masks collected by Felix Speiser in 1910/12 and currently in the Museum der Kulturen Basel, illustrated by Kaufmann, 1997, p. 120, ill. 174 & 175.


Kaufmann, Christian, Vanuatu - Kunst aus der Südsee, Basel 1997, p. 120, ill. 174 &175