Quantcast

Headrest (Amba Ragat)

Sekatbente

Date:
19th century
Geography:
Papua New Guinea, Aibom village, Middle Sepik River
Culture:
Iatmul people
Medium:
Wood, shell, hair, fiber, paint
Dimensions:
H. 8 11/16 x W. 24 3/8 x D. 4 1/2 in. (22 x 61.9 x 11.4 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Furniture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.1628
  • Description

    Like many Pacific peoples, the Iatmul use wood headrests,
    which serve as pillows on which to rest the head or neck
    during sleep. Called amba ragat (literally, head stool),
    Iatmul headrests consist of a plain central section that
    accommodates the user’s head and is flanked by carved
    finials depicting totemic animals or ancestral beings. The
    central portion of this work is grasped by two female
    figures, who may represent a pair of legendary sisters from
    oral tradition. The figures have eyes inlayed with shell
    and heads embellished with coiffures made from locks
    of human hair. Their bodies are adorned with miniature
    versions of personal ornaments, including shell or fiber
    necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.

  • Provenance

    Count Etienne de Ganay, by 1936–1961, collected on La Korrigane Expedition, 1934–1936; (Hôtel Drouot Rive Gauche, Paris, December 4–5, 1961, no. 90); Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1961, on permanent loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1961–1978

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
313847

Close