Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bird Head Club

Date:
19th century
Geography:
New Caledonia
Culture:
Kanak people
Medium:
Wood
Dimensions:
H x W x D: 31 x 12 3/4 x 2 in. (78.7 x 32.4 x 5.1 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Implements
Credit Line:
Gift of John B. Elliott through the Mercer Trust, 2000
Accession Number:
2000.160.9
Not on view
This magnificent high-gloss blackware bowl is decorated with carved and incised feathered serpents. Profile human figures are seated in front of their bearded jaws. The bodies of the serpents undulate with regularity around the circumference of the vessel. The figures are perhaps emerging from the underworld as the bearded, feathered serpent is thought to be a personification of that fearsome place. On the inner rim of this bowl is a series of bars and dots that, if intended as a Maya date, would correspond with 539 A.D.
John B. Elliott, Princeton, NJ, until (d.) 1997; the Mercer Trust, 1997–2000

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