Abelam or Bukie Culture Wooden Yam Mask-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art I am totally enamored with yam masks. Wooden ones such as the present example can be superb. With the ritual growing and display of long yams of paramount importance to the Abelam the masks that adorn these massive tubers were of great importance. The masks transformed the long yam into the very ancestral spirit responsible for its amazing size as way of honoring that spirit. This one is actually from the Bukie area to the northeast of the Abelam as one can tell by the flared nostrils and on the reverse where one can see near the bottom the place a post once existed long ago. The yam mask has great pigmentation, wonderful volumes, substantial age and a dark brown patina. It dates to the early 20th century, is 10 1/8” (25.6 cm) in height.