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Spirit Dog Figure, Yangoru / Boiken Area East Sepik Province , PNG


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Collection No. TB-1184
Size Height: 90.4 cm
Spirit Dog Figure, Yangoru / Boiken Area  East Sepik Province , PNG
Spirit Dog Figure, Yangoru / Boiken Area  East Sepik Province , PNG
Spirit Dog Figure, Yangoru / Boiken Area  East Sepik Province , PNG

This superb sculpture shows the great imagination and skill of the artist who used the the trees natural shape to help create this beautiful  Spirit Dog figure. The soft ochre painting adds to the beauty of this amazing sculpture.

This important Cult House Spirit Figure was photographed insitu at Holik Village by Douglas Newton (Former Curator of Oceanic Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) on August 8, 1970, the photo was published in “Oceanic Art by Kaeppler, Kaufmann & Newton 1990 Page 573.

You can clearly see the Dog Figure in the smaller photo on the left next to the huge carved cult house lintel.

The complex male initiation cycle of the Abelam people is restricted to men. The Ceremonial House is decorated with carvings spirit figures and totemic animals, like this stylised spirit dog. 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.

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