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Ambusap (wealth object)

early 20th century-mid 20th century


Iatmul people

Papua New Guinea

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Middle Sepik River East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
    Cultural origin
    Iatmul people
    early 20th century-mid 20th century
    Media category
    Ceremonial object
    Materials used
    plaited plant fibre, nassa shells, cowrie shells
    108.0 cm length
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of Todd Barlin 2020. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Artist information
    Iatmul people

    Works in the collection


  • 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.

Other works by Iatmul people

See all 44 works