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A Fine Old Karahut Ornament Abelam People Prince Alexander Mountains East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea


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Collection No. TB-1204
Size Height 37cm
Oceanic Arts Australia buys and sells tribal New Guinea art

A Fine Old Karahut Ornament Abelam People Prince Alexander Mountains Area East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea

This fine old used Karahut Ornament is from the Abelam People, Karahut Ornaments are very important ceremonial objects used during traditional ceremonies and initiations. In the form of a small Ancestral Spirit Figure finely woven from bush fibre rope made from tree bark and then decorated with boars tusks and Nassa Shells & lastly ochre painted. These were sometimes held in the mouth during ceremonies and at other times worn on the back of the Abelam dancers.

For the Abelam, the importance lies in the bright polychrome paints applied to their surfaces as the paint is a magical substance that endows the figures with supernatural power and beauty.

The complex male initiation cycle of the Abelam people is restricted to men. The Ceremonial Houses are decorated with carvings of spirit figures and totemic animals, These artworks were attached outside the entrance to the large ceremonial houses and also the entrances to the interior passages and into the initiation chamber. Inside the initiation chamber, with its brilliantly coloured paintings and carvings representing the clan spirits (nggwalndu) and other supernatural beings is revealed. Carved Figures are repainted many times, it likely witnessed the transformation of generations of novices into initiated men.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea and Oceanic Art

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