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Eyes Open: Tribal Combs and Masks

When light or wind passes through, the open eyes of a mask can haunt you. Ancestral spirits look back. I wanted to show some tribal combs and masks, whose open designs allow this emotional exchange to happen. From The Creative Museum‘s African collection come these examples: These three 20th Century hairpins with masks are ivory….

Bird of Paradise Ceremonial Headdress from Papua New Guinea

A colleague of Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) spent a decade writing The Malay Archipelago. The Land of the Orang-utang and the Bird of Paradise. Europeans were mesmerized by the red bird of paradise, as it reminded them of a lost Eden. Wallace wrote extensively on how he used native contacts to kill them,…