Balsawood Yam Mask-Ann Lewis Sydney-New Guinea Art
The yam masks used by the Abelam of Papua New Guinea's East Sepik Province to adorn their massive, long yams are really an amazing art form. The yam masks are often made from splitt cane using the coil technique or carved from a dense hardwood. But with the Southern Abelam people of the Wosera area they also make them from the very light balsawood such as with this present example. The light material enables some very finely composed masks with nice volumes and tall intricate headdresses. This one has both a beautiful form and great colors. It comes from the estate of Ann Lewis of Sydney Australia, dates to the 1940s, is 20 1/4" (51.4 cm) in height.