Me 10995

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us

Dancing mask

Oceania, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea, New Britain, Baining

Prior to 1913

Bark tissue

Collector unknown to us

Purchased by the museum from Richard Parkinson (researcher and representative of Godeffroy & Sohn in Samoa) in 1913

Me 10995

To this day, such masks are worn by men throughout the night as they dance around a large fire and over the embers. Each depicts a different powerful spirit from the plant and animal kingdoms that can be dangerous to humans.

The museum purchased the masks of the Sulka and neighboring tribal groups inhabiting the Bismarck Archipelago from the widow of explorer, colonist, and traveler Richard Parkinson. Parkinson lived in various parts of Oceania from 1872 to 1906, traveling on warships and merchant ships, and describing the land and cultures of the Bismarck Archipelago and the German Solomon Islands in a racist style in his book "Thirty Years in the South Seas" (1907). He received many items from missionaries of the "Sacred Heart of Jesus."

Birgit Scheps-Bretschneider