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Dimiri Village, Yuat River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea

Lamu (Hearth stand)
Other titles:
Clay gargoyle
Ridge ornament
Hearth support
Place of origin
Dimiri VillageYuat RiverEast Sepik ProvincePapua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Yaul people
Media category
Materials used
earthenware, incised and modelled

19.0 cm height; 27.0 cm width:

0 - Whole; 19 cm

0 - Whole; 27 cm

Purchased 1965
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

These solid objects made of clay and fired to a low temperature are modelled by men whereas women make cooking pots. They were used to support a cooking pot over a fire. This particular object with the animal above may not have been functional, showing an intermediary stage to the next illustration, a figure. The people of Dimiri and associated villages living in swamp country, traded pots, as well as baskets, mosquito bags and artifacts with the group to the west, the Mundugumor (Biwat people) who lived on both sides of the Yuat River. The aggressive Mundugumor preyed on the swamp villages but "they were careful not to kill all of them for then there would be no makers of pots left alive" (Margaret Mead, 'Sex and temperament in three primitive societies', New York, 3rd ed, 1963, pg. 171). Stylistically the pot head has strong affinities with wooden masks of the Yuat style, the pouting mouth, the lower raised cheeks, the bulbous nose.

revised entry from AJ Tuckson, 'Some Sepik River art from the collection', AGNSW Quarterly, vol 13, no 3, 1972, pg. 671.

Bibliography (4)

Daniel Thomas (Editor), 1965 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1965, 79-80. 143

Margaret Tuckson and Patricia May, The traditional pottery of Papua New Guinea, 'East and West Sepik Provinces', pg. 208-325, Kensington, 1982. General reference to Yaul pottery. See Fig. 9.63 for similar hearth stand with the addition of a bird.

Tony Tuckson, Melanesian art, Sydney, 1966, 7, between pg. 12-13 (illus.). 30

Tony Tuckson, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Some Sepik River art from the collection', pg. 666-679, Sydney, Apr 1972, 667, 670, 674 (illus.). plate no. 4

Exhibition history (4)

Pacific art: Private collection of Stephen Kellner, Hungry Horse Gallery, Paddington, 21 Apr 1965 -

Purchases and Acquisitions for 1965, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 09 Mar 1966–03 Apr 1966

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 -