Lot: 93

Mask head "temes maur"


Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Glerum, Amsterdam, December 2010
Piet Lepelaar, Leiden, The Netherlands
H: 4.4 inch (head) / 17.5 inch (with beard) 1200 EUR / 2500 EUR

tree-fern root, vegetable clay, red ochre, boar tusks, spider web material, These masks are embodiments of the souls of the deceased and are closely linked to funeral rituals "nalawan nemasien" or "masien". They bear different names ("temes maur", "nani", "nato", "maux") and their use differs in each community. During funeral rituals, they could be worn like a mask, with a veil made of spider-web material allowing the dancer to see. Other mask heads were mounted on sticks and placed around the funerary bier, where they represented the ancestors. At ceremonies to remember the dead, they are said to have appeared as moving puppets above a screen of leaf material.

Howarth, Crispin, Kastom, Art of Vanuatu, Canberra 2013, p. 101