A large nose Apouema mask said to represent the deceased high chief

Wood, human hair, bamboo, cane, vegetable fiber and trade cloth, the face of the mask is stained black with a concoction made from the burnt nut of the Bancoul tree (Aleurites moluccana), the Candle Nut Height 42 cm Kanak, North New Caledonia, Melanesia, Oceania, 19th century

This type of mask was first recorded by the French botanist and explorer Jacques-J.H. de Labillardiere in 1792. When the first missionaries met the Kanak, they thought the masks were representations of devils and tried to stop their use. As a result, few were made after French colonization in 1853. Masks were used in the north and central part of New Caledonia at the time of European contact, by which time their use had diminished in the south. Southern masks are usually carved with small noses and those from North with big extended curved ones like the example here.

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Collection of Admiral William Oswald Story, C.B.E., 18 April 1889 - 14 January 1938, UK & Canada


Galerie Meyer Oceanic Eskimo Art

"Oceanic art from Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia and Australia. Early Eskimo art from the Arctic circle."

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