Creator

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Approximate Date

20th Century

Country of Origin

New Guinea; Gulf of Papua

Medium

Wood, pigment.

Size

37” x 7 1/4” x 1”

Condition

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

Collection

Wasserstrom Papuan Gulf Spirit Boards

Description

Gope Board of classical form, 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 head carved atop the board and stylized motifs below, in classical style for the region. Originally from the area between the Era River, Purari Delta and Urama region. The board shows age and use, with pigments in red-brown, black and white.

This fine old board is almost a depiction of a figure, which may mean it was associated with the main Clan shrine where trophy skulls were kept. The imagery depicts a head atop a stylized chest with ‘rib cage’ and two sets of curling devices, possibly representing anatomical details.

Keywords

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

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