Figure (Bioma)

Iwaino people

Not on view

The Papuan Gulf region encompasses the arts and cultures of the Gulf of Papua on the southeast coast of New Guinea. In the past, the primary focus of religious and artistic life in the region was on powerful spirits (imunu). Each imunu typically was associated with a specific location in the landscape, rivers, or sea, and was linked to the specific clan within whose territory it dwelt.
Papuan Gulf wood sculpture was primarily two-dimensional, consisting of board-like carvings, known as spirit boards, and figures with designs in low relief. Figures such as this one represented and served as a dwelling place for an individual imunu. Villages formerly had large communal men's houses divided into cubicles, each allotted to a particular clan or subclan. Every cubicle contained a clan shrine, which housed the spirit boards, figures, human and animal skulls, and other sacred objects associated with the clan's various imunu.

Figure (Bioma), Wood, paint, barkcloth, fiber, bamboo, Iwaino people

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