A large nose Apouema mask said to represent the deceased high chief
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.
Galerie Meyer Oceanic Eskimo Art
"Oceanic art from Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia and Australia. Early Eskimo art from the Arctic circle."