Country of Origin
New Guinea; Gulf of Papua
43” x 11” x ¼”
Overall fine condition, some depredation and wear commensurate with traditional use.
Wasserstrom Papuan Gulf Spirit Boards
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 face at top above a stylized body and umbilical motif 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 dark red, black and white.
This superb board is classical in every way with a fine conception of a stylized body with head, torso and umbilicus. Boards of this type can be seen in period photos from the 1930’s. The central motif, possibly a clan-totem, was a favorite canoe-gunwale decoration when turned horizontally.