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Title

Sacred stone (club head)


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

Club head

Ritual stone


Cultural origin

Woala (Wola) people


Dates

circa 6000 BCE-circa 1000 BCE
collected 1969


Media category

Ceremonial object


Materials used

stone, hammer-pecked with 12 stars, red pigment


Dimensions

8.5 cm diameter; 5.0 cm width


Credit

Gift of Stan Moriarty 1977


Location

Not on display


Accession number

565.1979



Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


Referenced in 1 publication

Bibliography


Natalie Wilson (Editor), Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Sydney, 2014, 70 (colour illus.), 160. cat.no. 14