Lake Sentani, Irian Jaya, New Guinea, Melanesia
H. 78 cm – W. 28 cm


Publication: Carlier, J-E., Du lac Sentani au village d’Aitape, Paris, Galerie Voyageurs & Curieux, 2022, p. 26 and 27

Photo © Hughes Dubois

The turtle, hornbill, lizard and frog are usually the predominant animals carved on this type of dish. Reserved for women, it is used daily to serve meat or fish. The dishes are stored suspended using a rope passed through the hole at their end. The repetitive use of interlocking spiral patterns is a recurring element in sculpture from the region. Clan marker or real “writing”, this type of motif can be a metaphor for the social and economic cohesion of society thanks to the mutual cooperation between families and the hereditary chief. Another interpretation of the spiral pattern would be to symbolize the connection between heaven and earth, in reference to the Creation myth.

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