< Back

A Superb New Guinea Gope Spirit Board Giobari Island Papuan Gulf Area Papua New Guinea

Enquire About This Artworks >
Collection No. TB-4235
Size Height 63cm x 24.5cm
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art
Asian Buddhist Art

A Superb New Guinea Gope Spirit Board Kerewa People from Giobari Island in Papuan Gulf Area Papua New Guinea

This beautifully carved Gope Spirit Board or titi ebiha is from Goaribari Island (also spelled Giobari) and is at the delta of the Kikori and Omati Rivers in the Papuan Gulf Area on the South Coast of Papua New Guinea. Gope boards are one of the most recognizable artworks from the Island of New Guinea.

Gope Spirit Boards are the embodiment of powerful spirits that represent each clan. No two Gope boards are the same, sometimes they are made from the sides of old canoes which provide a ready-made flat shape to carve the Gope boards from. This Giobari Island Gope is in the form of an abstract spirit head carved in low relief and painted with black & red ochre & white lime (burnt & crushed sea shells).

In the past, the primary focus of religious and artistic life in the region was on powerful spirits (imunu). Each imunu typically was associated with a specific location in the landscape, rivers, or sea, and was linked to the specific clan within whose territory it dwelt.

In pre-European contact times, the Papuan Gulf people made huge Ceremonial Houses with peaked roofs called Ravi, this is where the Gope Spirit Boards and other types of ceremonial objects were kept safe & secret from the uninitiated.  Gope boards were often kept on shrines that had boars’ skulls and human skulls from headhunting placed around them on racks.

The Papuan Gulf people had complex ceremonial cycles that took sometimes a decade to complete.  There are many distinct art styles in the Papuan Gulf stretching from the Elema area in the east to the Bamu area in the west and they are also neighbors of the Gogodala & Marind Anim people who live on both sides of the border that splits the island between Papua New Guinea and West Papua Indonesia.

This Gope Board shows the genius of the Giobari Island artists, he was not constrained by the size or the shape of the wood, and the oversized head, and the small body both work to great visual effect.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Oceanic Art 

See my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY  showing the Museums and Art Galleries Exhibitions that I provided artworks for over the past 40 years. There is the link to the article about my artworks published in the prestigious Louvre Magazine in 1996

I have artwork for Museums and art Galleries but also for collectors at every stage of their collecting. I want to encourage people to explore the fine art of New Guinea & West Papua and the Pacific Islands and to be able to see and touch the artworks in a relaxed and friendly manner in my Sydney Gallery. I would like to invite you to visit my gallery and see the artworks in person and also look at my website www.oceanicartsaustralia.com where there are many Galleries & Sub Galleries to explore.

My Gallery of nearly 40 years is the last physical gallery in Sydney that specializes in New Guinea and Oceanic Art.  Sydney is very close to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbors.


If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

To see many more rare items and the finest masterpieces, please make an appointment with us to visit the gallery.

For all inquiries, please contact us