Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Masks and Idols

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The Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg has a great collection of masks, mainly form the South Seas. From quite adorable to very crepy, they are impressive and powerful. If you find yourself in need for some inspiration for some idol for Call of Cthulhu or a mask worn by a high priest of a cult in your game, maybe these will help.

If you want to use these online, I ask that you link back here and maybe to the homepage of the museum and that you don't use the photos commercially. Otherwise, feel free to get creative.

The above is a mask from the Ivory Coast, its name is korobla, which means "Release the bone". When people were thought to be under the influence of an evil spell, that mask was used to release them.

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more masks here


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these are from New Guina

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from New Ireland

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Also from New Guinea: a skull that has been decorated with coloured clay, seashells and other things. This was done both to skulls of ancestors as well as to skulls of enemies.

And my favourite piece from the whole collection. Enormous masks called Hareicha made by the Beining from New Guinea. They can be up to twelve meters tall and probably represent benign spirits. The masks were worn during the coming of age-ceremony, carried on the head of a dancer and held upright by a number of helpers with ropes and bamboo poles. But not much is known about them because by the time Europeans wanted to know more about them, the Beining culture had already changed so much that no-one made the masks any more and only a handful of people remembered seeing them used.

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