Murik Lakes Mask-Ledoux-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art
Large Murik Lakes Mask, brag
Murik Lakes, Coastal Sepik River area, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Collected 1936 by Louis Pierre Ledoux
Pre-contact, stone-carved, 17th/18th century (carbon dated)
36 ⅞” (93.6 cm) in height
Ledoux notes in his research the preparation masks underwent prior to use: they were “washed with herbs in the seawater quite a way up the beach … after the washing the masks were set in the sun a bit to dry and were scrubbed with red ochre and herbs” (Ch. 6, p. 29). The surface of the present mask is dry, weathered, scrubbed, and blackened by being stored in the smoke-filled rafters for decades between uses—which makes sense for an important mask more than 220 years old.