Artwork of the month

December 2018 Ethnology

Under the gaze of the mosquito spirit
A Baining kavat

If we could dream like Melanesians, perhaps the spirits that inhabit the forest would ask some of us to give them life through such a mask. This kavat, which embodies the spirit of a forest mosquito in New Britain, Papua New Guinea, was worn during a fire dance and escaped destruction by the flames.

See the artwork in the collection

Mask of a forest spirit (kavat)
Papua New Guinea, New Britain island, Gazelle peninsula
End XIXth – beginning XXth Century AD
Bamboo, tapa, pigments
73 x 90 x 40 cm

Ancient German private collection, 1960
Ludwig Bretschneider collection, Munich
Christie's, Paris, April 4, 2017,, lot n° 95


© Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Genève. Photographer : Thierry Ollivier

See also