Creator

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Approximate Date

20th Century

Country of Origin

New Guinea; Gulf of Papua

Medium

Wood, pigment

Size

36” x 5 ½” x ½”

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 central face with curling motifs above and 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, black and white.

This fine board presents a classical Wapo Creek area face in the center of the board with stylized bodies above and below, thus almost referring to a Janus-like quality depicted two-dimensionally. The style is of a type seen in historical images from the 1930s.

Keywords

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

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