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Creator Nationality: Asian; Pacific; Melanesian; Vantuan; Ni-Vanuatu
Creator Name-CRT: Mbotgote people
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1800
Creation End Date: 1999
Creation Date: 19th-20th century
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Wood, vegetable fiber, paint, pig tusks, glass, metal
Dimensions: H. 26 in. (66 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.206.1697
Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
This dramatic helmet mask comes from southern Malakula Island in Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides) east of Australia. Many Vanuatu peoples have complex men's secret societies, which involve a series of ritual 'grades' through which individuals pass, by means of initiation rites, festivals, and pig sacrifices, in order to achieve increasing religious and social status.
The two most prominent grade societies in southern Malakula are Nimangki and Nalawan. Grade rituals in each of these societies involve the creation of brightly painted figures and masks depicting powerful spirits and other supernatural beings. This mask represents the female cannibal giant Nevinbumbaan, whose son, Ambat Malondr, sits on her shoulders. Nevinbumbaan is credited with the creation of the men's Nimangki society; this mask is made and worn at various stages in the ceremonial cycle.
AMICA ID: MMA_.1979.206.1697
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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