New Ireland Tatanua Mask-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art
I’ve found that one of the truest ways to judge the age of a New Ireland object is the quality and fineness of the painted decoration. While this example is obviously missing its classic crested coiffure, please take note of the refinement and precision of the paint, the sweeping curves of the black and white, and the delicacy of the feathers above the right nostril. The shell opercula eyes float in their cut-out crescents below the overhanging brow. The backside shows all the correct signs of use and holes where the missing crest was once attached. The mask comes from a Los Angeles collection, dates to the early 20th century, is 12 ½” (31.7 cm) in height.