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An image of Yanda (bow) and timu (arrows) by
Alternate image of Yanda (bow) and timu (arrows) by

Porgera, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea

Yanda (bow) and timu (arrows)
Other titles:
Bow and arrows
Place of origin
PorgeraEnga ProvincePapua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Ipili people
mid 20th century
collected 1968
Media category
Arms & armour
Materials used
black palm bow, liana vine, cowrie shells (Cypraeidae), bamboo, carved wood, plaited split-rattan binding, red parrot feathers, red ochre pigment, white/grey clay, plant fibre string

bow 163 cm length, 3.5 cm diameter; arrows 118 to 127 cm length, 0.9 to 2 cm diameter

Gift of Stan Moriarty 1978
Accession number
© Ipili people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics
Not on display
Further information

Ipili leadership in the Porgera Valley was held by 'akali andane' (Big Men) and 'nembo yene' (Wise Men), who were great orators, warriors and successful negotiators. Before Christian missionisation in the 1960s, rituals of growth ensured that young Ipili boys became proficient hunters and warriors. Spells were learned to ensure arrows would cause infection in an enemy's wounds, or would find their mark more easily with challenging prey.

'Yanda' (bows) made from black palm wood were sometimes decorated with 'wate' (cowrie shells) traded through Enga exchange partners. 'Embo' (bowstrings) were made from 'teya' (liana vine). Each 'timu' (arrow) was painstakingly created for a specific target or purpose. 'Andawa' were barbed and difficult to remove. 'Kanudua' had a knife-like blade. 'Kopi' contained a broad-blade 'blood gutter' and were used for pigs and cassowaries. Decorated arrows, known as 'talango', were principally ceremonial. 'Wanga' were pronged and used for hunting birds.

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

Bibliography (1)

Natalie Wilson (Editor), Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Sydney, 2014, 84 (colour illus.), 85 (colour illus., detail), 160. 28

Exhibition history (1)

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