Iatmul Hand carved Polychrome Pigments Savi Gable Mask Korogo Sepik Guinea 12A1

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Rare Savi Gable Mask Korogo Sepik

Item 12A1 in our inventory

Old Iatmul tribe Detailed Magic Savi Gable Mask

From Korogo village, Sepik region, PNG

 (Papua New Guinea)

 Representing a god of power, this style of "Savi" was hand-carved and hand-painted with natural pigments in Korogo Village and represents a continuing tradition. The shell eyes, patterning and mouth are distinctive to this area. 

Size: 14 1/2" x 7" X 1 1/2"

Korogo carvers create very specific masks out of solid pieces of wood. This mask is believed to play a role in war, power struggles, judgment and justice and when hanging from the gables, protects the occupants.

A savi mask is about power, including the power to counter black magic. In the men's ceremonial Haus Tambarans, the orator's stools are savis as well as many of the gable masks that were placed at the top of the power structure of the men's house or Haus Tambaran.

Savis do not need to be danced to bring power, just gathering them is enough and they hang in the men's house or on the gables. Only certain powerful men may lower the savi tumbuans from their storage position in the Haus Tambanum (Tambaran).

Korogo is a large, powerful village on the river with a strong ceremonial life, with a large Haus Tambaran, a massive 2 storied thatch-roofed structure that took close to 2 years to build, over 50 meters long with an upper floor.

Masks, statues and carvings of Papua New Guinea’s cultures serve a variety of spiritual, cultural and decorative purposes. Most of the carvings found in PNG are from the Sepik region, where the production and use of masks, among other things, is an important part of traditional culture. Ancestral masks, for example, represent deceased clan ancestors, totemic creatures that assist the tribe by interceding on a high plane to provide food, prevent and cure illness, while spirit masks embody tribal spirits who inhabit the surrounding jungle, & may come to the help of the tribe to counterattack sorcery spells meant to arm them.

Ancestors assist one's life by interceding on a high plane to provide food, prevent and cure illness, acquire stature, and counter sorcery attempted via the ancestor spirit plane. These are examples of beautiful rare original standing masks of Ancestral figures from Papua New Guinea (above and next page): hand-carved wood adorned with rattan basketry, cassowary feathers and hand-painted with clay-based colors, shell eyes & clan animal at the top.

If a village or clan has a lot of bad luck, the whole group may change their names and buy the rights to use masks from another clan in a different village in an attempt to fool the bad spirits or sorcerers. The resulting masks usually display characteristics of both groups. Each Sepik River village otherwise is independent and has a distinctive style. No two masks can ever be exactly the same either. Each is crafted by a different artist, representing a different ancestor or spirit, and is therefore unique. (As a matter of fact, copying is forbidden and sentenced by local law unless there is a formal agreement between the parties involved.)

The men carve masks from indigenous wood. Paint is made from earth pigments and charcoal. Masks can be decorated with shells, pig tusks, and Cassowary feathers.  Few masks are worn directly over the face, which explains why many lack holes for eyes. They may be part of a large cone-shaped wicker framework for a dance costume called a tumbuan. Other masks are made only for display in the men's Haus to attract powerful and useful spirits. Masks often refer to a clan totem such as crocodile or eagle usually represented carved on the forehead. New masks may appear when a man dreams a spirit and carves a mask to represent it.

We have many rare pieces available that we list weekly, shields & statues among them including some from the Asmat region, arrow reflectors and panels as well as story boards, gope boards, masks, statues, baskets etc...

Check Dominique Rice Oceania Store in Sun Sentinel Newspaper, Fort Lauderdale, for information on our collection and authentic art.

All our collector and rare items come with pages and pages of research about provenance, and with history of the tribes and photos as well, depending on item and whenever possible. When shipping internationally, we group ship multiple purchases to save you money, and find the best rates available. If you have any questions or want to see research conducted on this piece and photos of tribes, let us know.

We have artifacts and architectural accents up to 10 ft tall that we will put on upon request because shipping has to be calculated accordingly with trucking company.