Mwai Mask

Possibly central Iatmul people
Possibly from Malingal village, along the banks of Middle Sepik, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Wood, nassa shells, conus shell discs, sago palm leaf fiber, various earth pigments

Painted wood with many small nassa shells and a few conus shell discs inset into mastic (tree resin) on the wood. Cowrie shell eyes, and a sago palm leaf fiber beard. These masks are used to celebrate yam and taro harvests. The ceremony ensures garden fertility.