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A Collection of 5 Marupai Charms from the Papuan Gulf area, 19th Century


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Collection No. Coll - Marupai Charms
Size 6-7cm
A Collection of 5 Marupai Charms from the Papuan Gulf area, 19th Century

Provenance: Ex Toast and Rohu Sydney

These beautiful carved dwarf coconuts were important magical charms or amulets that most men would have had. The incised designs with infilled lime are based on clan totems. Each clan would have a style of Marapai unique to them. They had immense spiritual power that could be used in many ways.

According to Richard Aldridge; they were used for :

“ They were used for magic such as to protect a man & his family from being attacked through the spirit world and sorcery.

They were used to send and deliver messages to other people with Marupai through the spirit world.

They were used in warfare to confuse an enemy with their powers

They were used as hunting charms for finding wild pigs & cassowary birds.

They were used to transport a person magically from one place to another.

They were used to control the weather “

These charms were kept in small woven bags & sometimes hung around the neck of a sorcerer.

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