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Collection

An image of Amo ato (tree fern head) by
Alternate image of Amo ato (tree fern head) by Alternate image of Amo ato (tree fern head) by

Okapa (Moke), Okapa District, Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea

Title
Amo ato (tree fern head)
Place of origin
Okapa (Moke)Okapa DistrictEastern Highlands ProvincePapua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Fore people
Year
mid 20th century
collected 1964
Media categories
Ceremonial object, Mixed media
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
Accession number
290.1977
Copyright
© Fore people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics
Location
Not on display
Further information

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

Bibliography (3)

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

Exhibition history (3)

Melanesian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 Apr 1966–22 May 1966

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

Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 May 2014–10 Aug 2014