Papua New Guinea: the cultural roots of a new nation
Carved in wood and with an elaborate hair crest supported on a rattan frame, this tatanua mask is a stylized portrait of a dead person. It comes from the north-eastern coast of New Ireland, one of some 600 islands that, together with the eastern portion of the island of New Guinea, constitute the recently (1975) independent State of Papua New Guinea.
The rich and diverse cultural traditions of this new nation are matched by the wealth of its natural resources. In 1976 Papua New Guinea became the 138th Member State of Unesco.