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Pacific art

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Title

Ambusap (wealth object)

early 20th century-mid 20th century


Artist

Iatmul people

Papua New Guinea


About

In 1930, during an expedition through the Sepik region, Swiss ethnologist Felix Speiser documented Iatmul women wearing woven hoods across their heads as protection from the elements. Not only did these hoods have a practical use, they were also observed at Yentchan village by the Australian filmmaker Des Bartlett, who travelled to the Sepik in 1953, in use as part of the 'Naven' ritual performance as described by anthropologist Gregory Bateson, where they are worn by men during mythological re-enactments involving female ancestors.

Woven from estuarine reeds this rain hood is decorated with knotted and looped elements, painted with alternating stripes of red, yellow, black and white pigments, and finished with unwoven lengths of reed to form a fringe.


Details


Cultural origin

Iatmul people


Date

early 20th century-mid 20th century


Media category

Ceremonial object


Materials used

plaited plant fibre, nassa shells, cowrie shells


Dimensions

108.0 cm length


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Gift of Todd Barlin 2020. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program


Location

Not on display


Accession number

183.2020


Artist information

Iatmul people

Works in the collection

44