Festivals, Life, & Culture | Rabaul & Kokopo | Bushtrack Enterprises Ltd
Tapa cloth on bamboo frame masks, great painted eyes, and duck bill-like mouth are features of many of the fire dance custumes from the Bainings mountains in East New Britain. Representing forest spirits, the participants dance through a fire and cavort to a driving beat from drums and bamboos.
Tapa cloth. ca. 1885 | Hiapo is the Niuean word for tapa cloth. Traditionally it was patterned with designs unique to the island, many of them depicting events that were topical at the time the hiapo was painted. In recent years, hiapo art has been enjoying a revival
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Baining Mask. Northern New Britain, New Guinea. Tapa cloth stretched on light wood frame with natural pigments. These large masks were worn in nighttime dance ceremonies by the Uramot Baining who live in the mountainous interior of the Gazelle Peninsula. Masked men dance near and in a fire set at in the middle the village. Sick children may be carried into the fire for healing, but women may not touch the masks at any time.