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An image of Timbu wara by

Pangia, Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea

Timbu wara
Other titles:
Southern Highlands spirit figure
Place of origin
PangiaSouthern Highlands ProvincePapua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Wiru people
circa 1960s
collected 1971
Media categories
Ceremonial object, Weaving, Sculpture
Materials used
woven vegetable fibre, cane, red and blue pigments

97.0 x 114.0 cm (irreg.)

Gift of Margaret Tuckson 2005
Accession number
© Wiru people, under the endorsement of PIMA's 'Code of Ethics'
Not on display
Further information

Flat woven anthropomorphic figures - timbuwarra - from the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea were kept in spirit houses, conical-roofed structures built some distance from the village, and apparently were associated with fertility and spirits. In ceremony they were carried or were pinned to the tall red wig worn by men. This practice was locally described as "female pinned by a penis to the wig."

Collector Stanley Moriarty refers to it as a female figure representing a dead wife intended for relatives and friends to pay their respects to.

Bibliography (2)

Heinz Christian Dosedla, Tribus, 'Kunst und Kunstler im zentralen Hochland von Papua-Neuguinea', pg. 87-119, Stuttgart, Sep 1978. General reference to 'timbuwarra' plaited fibre figures, pg. 94-95. Article in German.

Heinz Christian Dosedla, Abhandlungen und Berichte des Staatlichen Museums fur Volkerkunde Dresden [Band 41], 'Kultfiguren aus Flechtwerk im zentralen Hochland von PNG', pg. 86-98, Berlin, 1984. General reference to 'timbuwarra' and 'yupin' plaited fibre figures.