Rare Form Basket Hook Figure Sepik River Area Papua New Guinea
This old and well used Basket Hook Figure is from the Sepik Area in The East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. I have not yet been able to fine a similar Basket Hook that is published to determine the exact area / culture that made the superb sculpture.
In form of an anthropomorphic bird man that represent a category of powerful ancestral beings called waken. The Basket hook can be read either orientation up or down. For practical use of the hooks are to hang bilum bags from. Basket Hooks had an important practical function, to keep food safe from rodents , when the basket hook is hung from the ceiling by a single string or rope no rodent can climb down that single rope to get to the net bags containing the family food that is hung from the basket hooks. Basket Hooks can be some of the most beautiful artworks made in the Sepik River area. You will see several more of these artworks on my website.
Sometimes small Basket Hooks like this example were used for hanging a mans magical bag that contained betel nut and amulets and botanical’s used for magic. This small basket hook must probably was used for that. The hole where it is hung from looks very much like female genitals which is a ” warning sign not to touch ”
Dating from the late 19th – early 20th Century . On a fine custom made display stand that makes it appear to be floating in air, it can then be displayed on a table or shelf where you can see both sides of the very rare and interesting sculpture.
Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Art
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