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MASKS & TUMBUANS

MASKS in Papua New Guinea cultures serve a variety of spiritual, cultural and decorative purposes. 90% of the masks available for sale in PNG are from the Sepik region, where the production and use of masks is an important part of traditional culture.

Ancestral masks represent deceased ancestors while spirit masks embody tribal spirits. Ancestral and spirit masks are not designed to be "worn" but are mounted in men's houses, spirit houses and other locations of importance. Gable masks (usually woven from cane) are mounted on house gables to protect the occupants from marauding spirits. Dance masks (and tumbuans) on the other hand are used functionally as accessories in traditional dancing and performances of cultural rites. Woven yam masks are used to decorate large yams unearthed during harvest.

Some of the masks we supply are newly crafted in villages and shipped directly to Port Moresby for sale. Other masks are used in the villages before being sold. Many of our masks are purchased from local markets and we may not know the "history" of each piece.

A TUMBUAN is a body mask which may cover the head, shoulders, and torso. Most tumbuans are woven from cane, grass, leaves, sago spathe or fashioned from light wood, bark or tapa attached to a frame. Tumbuans represent spirits, and are worn during traditional dances or cultural rites. We supply recently crafted tumbuans which are ex-village or ex-culture festival. We do not deal in antique tumbuans.

No two masks or tumbuans can ever be exactly the same. Each is crafted by a different artist, representing a different ancestor or spirit, and is therefore unique. Photographs shown below are samples of types, not pictures of specific items currently available. We can supply masks and tumbuans of similar size, type and quality to those shown in the photographs below, although exact appearance varies. 

In general, masks of common types and standard size (25-35 inches high) are USD60 each and larger, rarer or more ornate masks are USD110 each.

Retail prices quoted are in US dollars. Discounts apply to bulk orders.

Back to PNG Handcraft Exports home page

Email: info@pnghandcrafts.8k.com 

 

SEPIK ANCESTRAL MASKS

 

 

Item-a01
Waskuk Mask 25" USD60

 

Item-a02
Angriman Ancestral Mask 30" USD110

 

Item-a03
Tambanum Ancestral Mask
30" USD110

 

 

 

Item-a04
20" USD60

 

Item-a05
30" USD60

 

Item-a06
25" USD110

 

SEPIK SPIRIT MASKS

 

 

Item-a07
Japandai Spirit Mask 25" USD60

 

Item-a08
20" USD45

 

Item-a09
Ramu Spirit Mask 20" USD60

 

 

 

Item-a10
25" USD60

 

Item-a11
30" USD60

 

Item-a12 (Mwai mask)
35" USD110

 

SEPIK WOVEN MASKS

 

 

Item-a13
25" USD60

 

Item-a14
25" USD60

 

Item-a15
25" USD60

 

SEPIK YAM MASKS

 

 

Item-a16
20" USD40

 

Item-a17 (Gourd frame)
17" USD40

 

Item-a18
13" USD40

 

MIDDLE RAMU SPIRIT MASKS

 

 

Item-a19
25" USD60

 

Item-a20
20" USD60

 

Item-a21
30" USD60

 

OTHER MASKS

 

 

Item-a22 Morobe ceremonial mask 40" USD110

 

Item-a23 Sepik canoe prow mask 20" USD60

 

Item-a24 Sepik dance mask
25" USD110

 

 

 

 

Item-a25 Baining fire dance mask 55" USD260

 

The spectacular Baining fire dance of East New Britain

 

 

 

TUMBUANS

 

 

 

Item-b01a Large cane tumbuan, head 20" + grass 30" USD190
Side view

 

 

Item-b01b
Rear view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item-b03a Small cane tumbuan 20" USD110
Front view

 

 

Item-b03b
Rear view

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item-b04a  Cane tumbuan-mask with grass, head 25" + grass 20" USD110
Front view

 

Item-b04b
Side view

 

 

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