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Crocodile mask


Turtle-shell masks, or karara, like this one, with the tail of a fish and a head resembling a shark, King Fish or a crocodile, were used in both the Fly River area of Papua New Guinea and the western islands of Torres Strait, from where this mask was collected. They were important characters in the ceremonies of the horiomo cult of the dead.

Few masks of this kind were made because of the work involved in assembling the turtle shell, cassowary feathers, ovulum shells, pangum seeds and the decorations of white clay and red ochre. Masks were sacred and could be used only by certain male members of a lineage.

Crocodile mask (c. 1850)
 Crocodile mask (c. 1850)

 Crocodile mask (c. 1850)




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Crocodile mask (c. 1850), turtle shell and various decorations
Dimensions H 54 x L 153 cm
Registration No. X 4213
Image source: Museum Victoria

© Museum Victoria Australia