The Papuan Gulf region encompasses the arts and culturesof the Gulf of Papua on the southeast coast of New Guinea.In the past, the primary focus of religious and artistic lifein the region was on powerful spirits (imunu). Each imunutypically was associated with a specific location in thelandscape, rivers, or sea, and was linked to the specificclan within whose territory it dwelt.Papuan Gulf wood sculpture was primarily two-dimensional,consisting of board-like carvings and figures with designs inlow relief. The signature art form was the spirit board, anoblong plank-like object known variously as a gope, koi, orhohao, depending on the region in which it was made. Eachserved as a dwelling place for an individual imunu, whoseimage appears on it. Villages formerly had large communalmen’s houses divided into cubicles, each allotted to aparticular clan or subclan. Every cubicle contained a clanshrine, which housed the spirit boards, figures, human andanimal skulls, and other sacred objects associated with theclan’s various imunu.