Gope Board, Wapo Creek, Papuan Gulf , Papua New Guinea
|Size||(162cm x 46cm)|
This finely carved old Gope Board is from the Era People Wapo Creek Area in the Papuan Gulf on the South Coast of Papua New Guinea. Gope also called “Spirit Boards ” that 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 Gope board is from the same village and time as one published in the superb book on the subject “Embodied Spirits: Gope Boards from the Papuan Gulf 2015 edited by Virginia Lee Webb on page 219. This highly regarded publication shows all the areas and art styles of Gope Spirit Boards.
In pre-European contact times the Papuan Gulf people made huge ceremonial houses with peaked roofs called Ravi , this where the Gope 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. Gope boards are one of the most recognisable artworks from the Island of New Guinea. The Papuan Gulf people had complex ceremonial cycles that took sometimes a decade to complete. There are many art styles styles in the Papuan Gulf stretching from the Elema area the east to the Bamu area in the west, they are also neighbours 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.
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