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Pair Sago Pegs Abelam People East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea


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Collection No. T-4545
Size Heights 65cm - 67cm
Pair Sago Pegs Abelam People East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
Pair Sago Pegs Abelam People East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
Pair Sago Pegs Abelam People East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea

This fine old pair of Sago Pegs which are tools used for processing Sago Palm into Sago Starch Flour for the Abelam People who live in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea.  Sago is the main staple food for many people living in Papua New Guinea and West Papua- Irian Jaya.  The whole family or extended family would have to go out to make sago flour ever 2 weeks or so. First the people usually have to travel some distance to where there are still many Sago Trees to cut down and process, they cut a small to medium size tree then split it down the middle to access the pith inside the tree.  This pith is then washed through a sieve and the Sago Peg holds the top of the sieve like a clothes peg. When the sago is washed thru this process it coagulates at the bottom of the sieve where when settles it can be cut into blocks and carried back to the village in homemade backpacks. This will feed a family for 2 weeks or so. Though the Abelam are famous gardeners of ceremonial Yams they also live on Sago.  I have accompanied families to make sago a number of times and it is hard work !

The tops of theses Sago Pegs are beautifully carved with an ancestors head surmounted by a bids head. This was a reminder of the presence of their ancestors in day to day activities. Some carvers were famous for their utilitarian carvings like these Sago Pegs and they were highly sought by family members and clan members.  These Sago Pegs would date from the 1950’s. They are the finest pair I have ever had in 35 years.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art