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House Post Figure

Date:
19th century
Geography:
Indonesia, Papua Province (Irian Jaya), Kabiterau village, Lake Sentani
Culture:
Sentani people
Medium:
Wood
Dimensions:
H. 36 1/8 x W. 8 1/2 x D. 8 1/2 in. (91.8 x 21.6 x 21.6 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.1440
  • Description

    Mother and child figures are rare in Oceanic art. This example comes from the Lake Sentani region on the northern coast of New Guinea. The Sentani people live over the lake itself in villages built on wooden pilings. The Sentani have a hierarchical social structure, including both chiefs and commoners. Until the early twentieth century, the chief's house was the largest structure in the village and was frequently decorated with carvings depicting a variety of subjects. Wooden figures such as this one adorned the tops of posts that supported the roof and floor of the chief's house and were also carved into the pilings supporting the boardwalk bridges that connected the houses in the village.

  • Provenance

    Dr. Jacques Viot, Paris, collected Lake Sentani 1924–1929; Pierre Loeb Collection, Galerie Pierre, Paris; [John J. Klejman, New York, until 1954]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1954, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, 1956–1978

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
313629

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