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Headdress (susiu)

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Maskers wore these elaborate basketry headdresses during initiation rites for young men. The human-like facial features recall Sulka men's adornments, such as nose plugs and elongated earlobes. The back flap in the shape of a fish tail is said to be derived from a spirit that the maker of the...

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Provenance

Formerly in Dresden Museum, Wayne Heathcote Collection. Offered at Sotheby's in 1980; Purchased from Tambaran Gallery, New York, 1988. Given to the MFA by William and Bertha Teel in 1994.

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

Sulka peoples, New Britain, Papua New Guinea, late 19th century

Dimensions

95.25 cm (37 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

1994.410

Medium or Technique

Fiber, cassowary feathers, rattan, vegetable pith, and pigment

Collections

Africa and Oceania

Classifications

Masks