An image of Gable mask from house façade

Unknown Artist

Gable mask from house façade

Other titles:
Gable mask
Not on display
Further information

The basketry mask is placed on the gable of the ceremonial house by the people living in the middle Sepik area. Sometimes it is woven as part of the structure. Bateson (Gregory Bateson, 'Social structure of the Iatmul people of the Sepik River', Oceania, 2: 259, 1932), says they are the female personification of the house. It is possible that this object was made for sale but it still appears to embody the best qualities of Sepik River art. It is made of cane, painted red, white and black, decorated with cassowary feathers around the eyes, and the nose ornament is of wood.

revised entry from AJ Tuckson, 'Some Sepik River art from the collection', AGNSW Quarterly, vol 13, no 3, 1972, pg. 671.

Place of origin
Blackwater River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
possibly Kapriman people
mid 20th century
Ceremonial object
woven rattan cane, red, white and black natural pigments, cassowary feathers, carved wood
181.5 x 99.5 x 54.0 cm :
0 - Whole; 181.5 cm
0 - Whole; 99.5 cm
0 - Whole; 54 cm
Purchased 1964
Accession number
© Iatmul people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics