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An image of Timbu wara by

Pangia, Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea

Timbu wara
Other titles:
Female figure
Place of origin
PangiaSouthern Highlands ProvincePapua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Wiru people
mid 20th century
collected 1972
Media categories
Ceremonial object, Weaving
Materials used
coiled plant fibre, cane, yellow and red ochre pigments, blue pigment

144.0 x 77.0 x 1.8 cm

Purchased 1977
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Flat woven anthropomorphic figures - timbu wara - 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'.

Bibliography (5)

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 'timbu wara' and 'yupin' plaited fibre figures. Figure no. 4 reproduces a similar 'timbu wara' figure from Pangia (Wiru) from the collection of the Peabody Museum, Salem, Mass, USA, Inv.No. E56766

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

David Said, OAS Newsletter, 'Exclusive showing of the Moriarty PNG Highlands art collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 2-3, Sydney, Jan 2007, 3 (illus.).

Pamela J Stewart and Andrew Strathern, Records of the South Australian Museum, 'Timbu wara figures from Pangia, Papua New Guinea', pg. 65-77, Adelaide, 2001. General reference to 'timbu wara' plaited plant fibre figures.

Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 28 (illus.), 49. H5

Exhibition history (1)

Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Oct 1974 -