An image of Rmarki (day dance display ornament)

Baining people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Rmarki (day dance display ornament)

Other titles:
Dance shield, Tapa dance wand, Remortki
Not on display
Further information

The Chachet Baining live in an area surrounded by dense rainforest inhabited by spirits that dominate everyday life. Rituals and ceremonies, where colossal barkcloth masks are worn, act as mediations between the spiritual and physical worlds.

The 'rmarki' shield is carried by a group of boys and men at the opening of the day dance, when the 'kusmespetut' dance is performed to cleanse the ceremonial ground of evil influences. Accompanied by two or three 'ara vuchulka' (polemasks), the 'rmarki' dancers spit ginger juice towards a group of singing and drumming women. The 'rmarki' is then taken away, having 'opened the day dance.

This 'rmarki' featured in the 1966 exhibition 'Melanesian art', together with three 'kavat' (night dance masks) from the collections of artists John Olsen and Douglas Watson.

[revised entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 2]

Place of origin
Gazelle Peninsula, East New Britain Province, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Baining people
mid 20th century
collected 1965
Ceremonial object, Sculpture
barkcloth, bamboo, plant fibres, red, red-brown and black natural dyes and pigments
625.0 cm length; 66.0 cm width; 5.0 cm depth
Purchased 1965
Accession number
© Baining people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics