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Topic: Eharo dance masks - S. G. MacDonell collection

In 1914, the Dominion Museum (Te Papa’s predecessor) purchased an important collection of ethnological material from S G MacDonell a trader and general merchant who was based in Port Moresby and Orokolo in Papua New Guinea at the time.

This collection includes impressive dance masks made from tapa (barkcloth), which were worn in the early 1900s during ceremonial rituals. Following the ceremonies, in most cases, these masks would have been destroyed.

MacDonell was an active collector in the area, and through contact with former Museum Director Augustus Hamilton, was able to send material from Papua New Guinea to the museum.

Some of these masks featured in the year-long Culture Moves! Dance costumes of the Pacific (2005) exhibition, celebrating dance and dance costumes across the Pacific.

Browse through some of these amazing masks, held in Te Papa’s Pacific collection.

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