Creator

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Approximate Date

20th Century

Country of Origin

New Guinea; Gulf of Papua

Medium

Wood, pigment.

Size

31” x 7” x 1/2”

Condition

Overall fine condition, some depredation and wear commensurate with traditional use.

Collection

Wasserstrom Papuan Gulf Spirit Boards

Description

Gope Board of classical form, including dark brown/black and white pigments, made from a slightly bowed piece of hardwood, possibly the bottom or gunwale of a war canoe; and carved in relief with depictions of a figure with a head atop a tapering pointed board with incised, scrimmed designs. classical style for the region. Originally from the area between the Era River, Purari Delta and Urama region.

This fine old board is somewhat enigmatic in that the design is incised rather than deeply carved; a tradition sometimes found in the Western part of the Papuan Gulf. It may be that this was a figure made for some other purpose than a typical Gope, perhaps an initiation object or sorcery figure. In any case, it is a fine example with power and integrity.

Keywords

gope board, spirit boards, Papua New Guinea, Daniel Munzert, James Wasserstrom

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