AGE: – Unknown (acquired from a village in 1971 along the Sepik River)
CONSTRUCTION: – Wood
DESCRIPTION: – New Guinea Sepik River Wooden Tribal Carving
HEIGHT: – 94cm
WIDTH: – 27cm (widest part)
DEPTH: – 2cm
WEIGHT: – 1.5kg.
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When this New Guinea Sepik River Wooden Tribal Carving was acquired in 1971 many of the villages located along the river and its tributaries had little contact with the outside world. Carvings such as this were used in ceremonies and tribal rites to ward of evil spirits.
The Sepik River is one of the largest rivers in Papua New Guinea, it winds its way through the jungles and densely forested lowland areas of PNG and is still relatively untouched in comparison to other areas in the South East Asian region. The people living along the Sepik River have been traditionally bound together through trading with one another. Today there is a lively trade to the tourist in wooden tribal carvings along the Sepik River.
In the not too distant past in Papua Guinea head hunting was a common practice. It was a rite of passage into manhood for a young man only if he had taken a head. Some tribes would traditionally take the head of those he had killed in warfare as a trophy and the body parts were sometimes eaten.