Baining Fire Dance Mask New Britain
The Baining people are among the earliest and original inhabitants of the Gazelle Peninsula of East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Currently, they inhabit the Baining Mountains where they are thought to have been driven by the Totai tribes who migrated to the coastal area in recent times.
Baining artworks are usually produced for limited uses and laboriously made from bark cloth, bamboo and leaves. They are traditionally used just once for the fire dance ceremony before being thrown away or destroyed. Fire dance ceremonies are to celebrate the birth of new children, initiation rites for young men into adulthood, the commencement of harvest and remembrance of the dead. This dance is a men-only event and traditionally women and children neither partake nor watch.
This striking mask is in fine condition, dates from the late 20th century and measures 47" tall by 30" wide x 22" deep.