REGION: Oceania
COUNTRY: Papua New Guinea
YEAR PRINTED: 1990
VALUE: 70 toea

This stamp is one of a set of four issued by the Papua New Guinea government in 1990 to celebrate the traditional dance masks of the Gogodala people of western Papua New Guinea.

:

REGION: Oceania
COUNTRY: Papua New Guinea
YEAR PRINTED: 1994
VALUE: 20 toea

This postage stamp was issued by the government of Papua New Guinea in 1994 as part of a set commemorating cultural artifacts of the country. This stamp depicts a mask of the Elema people of the Papuan gulf known as eharo. The eharo mask is made of tapa (bark cloth) over a cane frame and danced as part of the hevehe ceremonial cycle. Such masks are used for comedic purposes in telling stories for communal entertainment.

:

REGION: Oceania
COUNTRY: Papua New Guinea
YEAR PRINTED: 1994
VALUE: 5 kina

This postage stamp was issued by the government of Papua New Guinea in 1994 as part of a set commemorating cultural artifacts of the country. This stamp depicts a Gogodala dance mask from Western Papua New Guinea.

:

REGION: Oceania
COUNTRY: Papua New Guinea
YEAR PRINTED: 2008
VALUE: 85 toea

This postage stamp was issued by the government of Papua New Guinea in 2008 in honor of the “mudmen” of the Asaro tribe, living near Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province. According to Asaro legend, the mudmen mimic spirits to frighten the enemies of the villagers.

:

TITLE: Tami Island Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Oceania
COUNTRY: Papua New Guinea
SUBREGION: Siassi Island
ETHNICITY: Tami (Melanesian)
DESCRIPTION: Tago Mask
MAKER: Unknown
FUNCTION: Adult Initiation; Spirit Invocation
AGE: ca. 1990
MAIN MATERIAL: sago palm tapa cloth
OTHER MATERIALS: rattan; wood; berry and tree sap pigments; feathers

The Tami people inhabit a small collection of islands in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe Province. They number fewer than one thousand individuals today. The Tami masquerade is part of the adult initiation (circumcision) ritual for boys and men. The tago simultaneously represents a spirit of a dead ancestor and the more recently, spirit of kani, a dragonlike monster that eats children and is invisible to women.

Tago masks are kept in bush huts off limits to women and children, who are forbidden to see tago masks and performance on some islands. On others, such as Siassi, women do attend the performance. In practice, women on all the islands all have seen tago performances and merely feign ignorance for form’s sake.

Each tago mask belongs to a family and has an identifiable design. They are acquired through marriage from the maternal uncle and passed down to the children.

The tago initiation ceremony was formerly performed every ten or twelve years, accompanied by the loud noise of a bullroarer (a carved piece of wood or rattan swung in circles on a string to make loud wind sounds). During that time, a taboo was placed on coconuts for one year and war was banned. More recently, it has been performed every two decades.

: