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Title

Sacred stone

early 20th century
collected 1964


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

Cults associated with sacred stones were once prevalent throughout the highlands. Sacred stones included oddly shaped river rocks or unearthed objects created by ancient highlands cultures, such as mortars, pestles, club heads and zoomorphic figurines. Ancestral and other spirits resided in these earthly forms, establishing a direct link with the spiritual world. The Enga people believed sacred stones were handed down from the 'sky people' who came to earth and created mankind; others thought they were the petrified bones of the ancestors. Stored in ritual houses or buried at sacred sites, stones were 'fed' the blood or fat of pigs on ritual occasions.

Archaeologists believe prehistoric stone mortars were used to grind seeds and nuts for nourishment, and pigments for ceremonies.

[Exhibition text for 'Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands', AGNSW, 2014]


Details


Other Titles

Ball

Ritual stone ball


Cultural origin

Golin people


Dates

early 20th century
collected 1964


Media category

Ceremonial object


Materials used

stone, pecked holes forming lines around ball


Dimensions

7.8 cm diameter (irreg.) :

0 - Whole; 23 cm; circumference


Credit

Gift of Stan Moriarty 1978


Location

Not on display


Accession number

273.1978



Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 53. cat.no. H111; "Stone ball, pattern of pecked holes".

Natalie Wilson (Editor), Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Sydney, 2014, 70 (colour illus.), 160. cat.no. 15