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Bowl, Tami or Siassi Island Huon Gulf Morobe Province Papua New Guinea


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Collection No. TB-1555
Size 56cm x 29cm
Bowl, Tami or Siassi Island Huon Gulf Morobe Province Papua New Guinea
Bowl, Tami or Siassi Island Huon Gulf Morobe Province Papua New Guinea
Bowl, Tami or Siassi Island Huon Gulf Morobe Province Papua New Guinea
Bowl, Tami or Siassi Island Huon Gulf Morobe Province Papua New Guinea
Bowl, Tami or Siassi Island Huon Gulf Morobe Province Papua New Guinea
Bowl, Tami or Siassi Island Huon Gulf Morobe Province Papua New Guinea
Bowl, Tami or Siassi Island Huon Gulf Morobe Province Papua New Guinea
Bowl, Tami or Siassi Island Huon Gulf Morobe Province Papua New Guinea

This very old Food Bowl is from Tami or Siassi Island in the Huon Gulf Area of Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea. Carved from a single large piece of hardwood in the form of a Bird .  The outside rim of the bowl are the birds wings which act as handles they are incised with designs that make it look like feathers , the front of the bowl is finely carved with the birds head & the other end is the tail of the bird.

Old bowls like this example are family heirlooms that are kept through generations and used on ceremonial occasions. Important old bowls are also used in traditional dowry payments made by a young mans family.  This old bowl dating from the late 19th Century.

Tami bowls were carved from a type of hardwood known as kwila. The process of hand-hollowing was a long and tedious process considering that nearby islands had mastered the much-expedited process of hollowing with fire. The incredibly hard wood used for Tami-style bowls also made working with traditional Papua New Guinean tools like stone or shell adzes and animal teeth all the more difficult.

Designs were chosen with great care. Especially before production moved from Tami to Siassi, each bowl was marked by a design serving as kinship group’s trademark. To copy the design of another carver was enough to start a feud, and it was often avoided. This is one of the reasons why the region’s bowl production was localised on Tami Island for as long as it was.  Birds which for the Tami were also representative of powerful spirits feature heavily in their art.

Provenance: Collected  in 192os by  Dr Edwin Archibald Holland who was in New from 1927 to 1933.

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