Rare Sawos Spirit “Malu” Board, Papua New Guinea. Carved and...



$2,600 - $3,400


Rare Sawos Spirit “Malu” Board, Papua New Guinea. Carved and engraved hardwood and natural pigment. Carved and engraved wood, black paint, red and white pigment, filigree work: drop-shaped holes forming floral motifs, small head on top, raised vertical middle ridge, two grid-like compartments in the lower third, projection in shape of a crocodile head, almost all of the sparse field information about openwork “malu” boards was not obtained from the Sawos but from their neighbours, the Iatmul, where they were collected. One description of “malu” board motifs is birds playing in the forest. However, Douglas Newton, suggests a more serious purpose. He proposes that the “malu” was originally a cult object, a “rack from which captured heads were hung, functionally akin to the Kerewa “agibe”. To him the “malu” represents a highly stylized male human figure, the archetypal cannibal, the founding father of the group, a great cultural hero and warrior. Approx L152 x 43cm. PROVENANCE John Magers Collection, Sydney.

Auction Date: 18th Mar 2023 at 6pm

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Sale Dates:
18th Mar 2023 6pm (Lots 1 to 360)

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