Abelam yam mask-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art This is a great yam mask collected by the late Anthony Forge in the late 1950s/early 1960s. I published this in my Paris 2019 catalog “By Descent: Oceanic Art from Old Collections.” This is how I described the yam mask in the catalog: One judges the quality of an Abelam cane yam mask by the tightness of its construction, the ingenuity of its composition and the layers of pigments. In this example, the coiled cane is extremely finely worked with the head a nearly perfect sphere that juts out from the flat plane of the headdress. There are numerous layers of pigments forming a thick, even surface. These multiple layers of paint are a testament to the history and cultural appropriateness of the yam mask. Paint is the magical substance that animated the mask and, as such, a yam mask was assuredly repainted prior to each yam display and exchange. This one comes from one of my heroes in the field, the late British anthropologist Anthony Forge, who did so much for the understanding of the aesthetics of Abelam art. The piece is 13 ½” (34.3 cm) in height, dates to the early 20th century.