- Registration number
- Item name
- Indigenous name
- Associated cultural group
- Pacific > Papua New Guinea > East New Britain Province > Gazelle District > Baining
- Raw material
- Bark cloth; plant fibre, rattan; pigment, plant; pigment,
- H: 820 mm W: 240 mm L: D: 650 mm Circum:
Mask made of bark cloth sewn over rattan frame and decorated with pigment manufactured from plants and paint from charcoal.
Made and used by the Baining men of the Gazelle Peninsula in New Britain, Papua New Guinea - the 'kavat' mask is made from painted bark cloth manipulated and fastened over a rattan frame. The dancers’ heads are adorned with the helmet masks, their torsos covered with soot and lime, their backs, arms and legs decorated with braces of leaves and their pubic area covered with a smaller decorated bark ornament (magumbet). Accompanied by a male orchestra, the dancers appear at night, dancing around and through huge bonfires. The combined elements of the mask’s design, material and form enhanced the spiritual power imbued within the mask. The black pigment is linked to the female domain, red with masculinity and white with the world of spirits. There are several forms of kavat masks, each depicting motifs associated directly to an animal, plant, or activity from the surrounding forest.