Lot 123C: Early 20th C. Indonesian Dayak Wood Face Mask

Artemis Gallery

April 17, 2018
Louisville, CO, US

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Description: Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Borneo, Ngaju, Central Kalimantan Dayak, ca. early 20th century CE. A striking face mask, hand-carved from a light-brown iron wood, representing the face of an abstract, anthropomorphic, ancestral being. The finely-detailed visage is comprised of wide, circular eyes, an upturned nose, open mouth with several pointed teeth, a projecting goatee, and a broad forehead. Traces of the original beige and black pigmentation as well as dry white jungle mold are present, imbuing the otherwise-brown mask with a bright, colorful complementarity. Carved ancestral depictions like this example are typically placed at or above the entrance to one's home, at sacred shrines, and in front of the chief's dwelling as symbolic protection against diseases and malevolent spirits. Size: 7.75" W x 14.75" H (19.7 cm x 37.5 cm).

Provenance: private Johnson collection, Marina Del Rey, California, USA

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Condition Report: Expected age-commensurate surface wear, losses to areas of goatee, cheeks, forehead, and peripheries, with dozens of stable hairline fissures, and minor inactive insect damage, otherwise very good. Remnants of original pigmentation visible. Light earthen deposits throughout.
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