- Museum number
Mask, of turtle-shell plates, moulded and sewn into the form of an elaborate human face; hair and beard made from human hair; pearl shell eyes.
- Production date
- 19thC (before 1846)
Length: 40 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Original slip describes this as 'Mask worn when dancing'; cross-referenced to MAN 1959,88.
An account of the collecting of the mask, and an illustration is in J. B. Jukes, Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of HMS Fly, London, 1847:
pp.178-79: 'I purchased for a knife a curious tortoise-shell mask, or face, made to fit over the head, which was used they told me, in their dances. It was very fairly put together, with hair, beard and whiskers fastened on, projecting ears, and pieces of mother-of-pearl, with a black patch in the centre for eyes.*' [foot note:] '* This and all the other native implements and curiosities I collected, are now in the British Museum.' Illustrated with a drawing of the mask.
Another turtle-shell mask collected by Lieutenant Risk at Erub on voyage of HMS Fly, is in the Bristol Museum, E1013.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2015-2016 27 Nov-28 Mar, Canberra, National Museum of Australia, Encounters
- Quite good
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Collected on the voyage of HMS Fly 1842-1846, at Erub (Darnley Island) 29 March 1845. (See Simpson 2021).
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number