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Title

Amo ato (tree fern head)

mid 20th century
collected 1964


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

The Fore men carve human heads into fern trees ('amo ato') to make scarecrows. They are placed in the gardens especially during the season during which new crops are planted. Some of these fern heads are also placed outside houses to trick sorcerers ('tukavu'). When they see these figures, they believe that there is someone at home and they go away.

Alphonse Kona, University of Papua New Guinea, 2014


Details


Cultural origin

Fore people


Dates

mid 20th century
collected 1964


Materials used

tree fern, shells, remains of bird feathers, 2 pig tusks, 9 mammalian teeth, white and pale red natural pigments, plant fibre string


Dimensions

36.5 x 17.0 x 21.5 cm :

0 - Whole; 36.5 cm; height including feather headband

0 - Whole; 17 cm

0 - Whole; 21.5 cm


Credit

Purchased 1977


Location

Not on display


Accession number

290.1977



Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 3 publications

Bibliography


Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973. cat.no. H50

Tony Tuckson, Melanesian art, Sydney, 1966. cat.no. 245

Natalie Wilson (Editor), Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Sydney, 2014, 138 (colour illus.), 163. cat.no. 80