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Belts and Gourd Set Waris District West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia


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Collection No. 403-264
Size Belts 48 cm
Belts and Gourd Set Waris District West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Belts and Gourd Set Waris District West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Belts and Gourd Set Waris District West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Belts and Gourd Set Waris District West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Belts and Gourd Set Waris District West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

This set of three Pig Bone Belts and a Penis Sheath Gourd are from the Waris District of West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia. These were once worn daily by the people in this area of West Papua, now these ornaments were only kept as family heirlooms and worn only for the occasional traditional ceremony. When a line of men wearing these ornament and flexed their hips the gourd would tip up and hit the bone belts making a nice percussion noise, tok tok tok.  These guys from Waris were kind enough to show me how they were worn.  All types of body ornaments were considered as a type of traditional wealth, you can see on this set that the both belts and gourd have deep old patina from handling and use.

In the 1980’s I made 38 trips to West Papua to travel and collect art and artefacts and to photograph traditional ceremonies, everywhere I stayed with people in villages I was always treated with great kindness and hospitality. I spent a lot of time in the Asmat and Mimika Kamoro areas  and along the entire North Coast of West Papua . Many of the artworks I field collected then are now in major museum collections around the world including The Musee du Quai Branly Museum in Paris, when you walk into the Oceanic Art Pavilion at The Musee du Quai Branly the first thing you see are the monumental ancestor poles from the Asmat & Mimika along with Dance Costumes Shields and large Soul Canoe , all of these were field collected by me. Originally they were in an exhibition ” Asmat et Mimika at The National Museum of African and Oceanic Art in 1996 (now that museum is part of The Musee du Quai Branly).  The exhibition the Asmat and Mimika in 1996 was published in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine see the link below and a photo of the exhibition above.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic and Asian Art

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