Showcased by Franck Marcelin

Large hooked figure gra or garra

Height : 1.28m

Carved wood

Presumed date of origin: early 20th century

Bahinemo population

Hunstein Mountains

Papua New Guinea

Provenance :

Private collection Chicago, USA

Gray’s Auctioneers, Cleveland, USA.  November 2014 (lot 67)

Michael Hamson, Palos Verde, USA (MHF-347)

Private collection, Canada

Garra (ge’rä) is the word used by the Bahinemo people. These hooked figures were hung in men’s homes along with other cult objects. During initiation ceremonies, they were held between the dancer’s legs.

According to Douglas Newton1 “the garra are identified both with the bush spirits and with the elderly men of the clan, the only ones authorized to consume the flesh of the hornbills – symbolized by the hooks – that nest in the places where the spirits live.” Our hook is distinguished by its large size and perfect state of preservation.

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