Ancestor/spirit mask

This mask has a plain forehead, an extended nose, cowrie shell eyes, elaborately carved life-whiskers and a beard. The tongue is stuck out. The lower lip is V-shaped and is repeatedly carved in diminishing Vs to the tip of the chin which end in zoomorphic head with cowrie eyes. The cheeks and line of the jaw have a repeated pattern of a solid oval at the centre of concentric outline ovals.

In traditional Sepik culture, ritual masks represent the mythical ancestors of the clan. Each mask is kept in a specific place in the spirit house, and strict rules are observed when preparing the mask for a ritual performance.