Image: Spirit Faces: Malagan Mask #2

Spirit Faces: Malagan Mask #2

"This is another Malagan Mask from New Ireland. This time the makers of the mask have secured hundreds of pieces of pith (which is the spongy inside of a grass like reed) onto the head of the mask. This spongy material is extremely fragile and brittle, breaking with even gentle touching.

The trickiest part of the treatment for me is getting access under the fragile sponge to re-secure the bark cloth. I managed to rehydrate the spongy material, allowing it to be more flexible and move out of the way while I stuck the bark cloth fringe in place."

- Sheldon Teare, Materials Conservation

© Australian Museum

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