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Headrest East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea


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Collection No. TB-1186
Size Length 46cm
Headrest East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
Headrest East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
Headrest East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
Headrest East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
Headrest East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
Headrest East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea

This old and well used Headrest (neck rest) is from the Sepik Plains area in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. Finely carved at both ends with a stylised crocodile heads.  Crocodiles play a central role in the art and culture of the Sepik River people. According to one of the Iatmul peoples Middle Sepik creation mythology, an ancestral crocodile was responsible for forming the land. In the beginning, the earth was covered by a primordial ocean, into whose depths the crocodile dived. Reaching the bottom, it brought up on its back a load of mud, which became an island when it surfaced. From that island, the land grew and hardened, but it continues to rest on the back of the ancestral crocodile, which occasionally moves, causing earthquakes.  Even today initiated Sepik Men have body scarification’s on their back, chest shoulders to resemble crocodiles.  The horizontal carved part of this headrest is made from a single piece of hardwood & the legs of the headrest are made from strong bamboo. This Headrest was collected in the 1950’s .

Provenance; The John and Marcia Friede Collection NY  : now his collection known as The JOLIKA Collection is now mostly in the De Young Fine Art Museum in San Francisco California.

 

 

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