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Timbu wara

circa 1960s
collected 1971


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Titles
    Southern Highlands spirit figure
    Place where the work was made
    Pangia Southern Highlands Province Papua New Guinea
    Cultural origin
    Wiru people
    circa 1960s
    collected 1971
    Media categories
    Ceremonial object , Weaving , Sculpture
    Materials used
    woven vegetable fibre, cane, red and blue pigments
    97.0 x 114.0 cm (irreg.)
    Gift of Margaret Tuckson 2005
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Wiru people, under the endorsement of PIMA's 'Code of Ethics'

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    Flat woven anthropomorphic figures - timbuwarra - from the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea were kept in spirit houses, conical-roofed structures built some distance from the village, and apparently were associated with fertility and spirits. In ceremony they were carried or were pinned to the tall red wig worn by men. This practice was locally described as "female pinned by a penis to the wig."

    Collector Stanley Moriarty refers to it as a female figure representing a dead wife intended for relatives and friends to pay their respects to.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

    • Lynn Chua, Microchemical Journal, 'FTIR and Raman microscopy of organic binders and extraneous organic materials on painted ceremonial objects from the Highlands of Papua New Guinea', pg. 246-256, Amsterdam, 2017, 248, 249.

    • Heinz Christian Dosedla, Abhandlungen und Berichte des Staatlichen Museums fur Volkerkunde Dresden [Band 41], 'Kultfiguren aus Flechtwerk im zentralen Hochland von PNG', pg. 86-98, Berlin, 1984. General reference to 'timbuwarra' and 'yupin' plaited fibre figures.

    • Heinz Christian Dosedla, Tribus, 'Kunst und Kunstler im zentralen Hochland von Papua-Neuguinea', pg. 87-119, Stuttgart, Sep 1978. General reference to 'timbuwarra' plaited fibre figures, pg. 94-95. Article in German.