In 1913 the Australian Government built an anthropology museum in Port Moresby, and introduced legislation to protect the cultural property of Indigenous Papuans.
The Papuan Antiquities Ordinance prevented the export of significant items of tangible cultural heritage. Artefacts exported in contravention of the ordinance could be confiscated and added to the government’s own collection, which later became known as the ‘Papuan Official collection’.
‘To receive a mask is both an honour and an obligation’, explained Papua New Guinean politician Albert Maori Kiki in 1968. ‘The initiate … is placed under a strong obligation to the people who give him a mask to wear. They will expect him to render help later on in doing their gardens and in looking after them when they are old.’
In our collection