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Pacific art

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Kwiy aegop (apron adorner)

mid 20th century
collected 1968


Unknown Artist


This pig-tail-fringed apron adorner was worn on special occasions to enhance a man's appearance. Although acquired in Wola territory in the southern highlands, they were more common among neighbouring Huli people. The 'kwiy aegop' was worn in front of long aprons with the side straps tucked into a bark girdle. They lasted for many years and were stored in protective leaf parcels.

Tightly knitted from lengths of bast fibre, the size and shape vary from small and triangular to large and rectangular. The outer surface is coloured with 'dind hat' (red ochre) or powdered trade-store paint mixed with 'tigaso' tree oil or pig grease.

The lower edge is adorned with linked chains of cane and tassels of tails from animals killed by the owner, his relatives and friends. The origin of the 'kwiy aegop' is unknown, but in the past they were highly treasured objects.

[Exhibition text for 'Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands', AGNSW, 2014]


Other Title

Man's ceremonial lap lap

Cultural origin

Wola people


mid 20th century
collected 1968

Materials used

plant fibre string, red and yellow pigment, 'tigaso' tree oil, plaited split-rattan chains, 18 pig tails, 2 animal tails


18.5 x 43.0 cm panel; 60.0 cm length, including 'streamers' :

0 - Whole, 18.5 cm (7 5/16"), width of oval-shaped band

0 - Whole, 43 cm (16 15/16"), length of oval-shaped band


Purchased 1977


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 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, 250, 252.

Paul Sillitoe, Made in Niugini: Technology in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, 'Apron adorner', pg. 454-456, London, 1988. General description of Wola production of apron adorners with pig tail fringe.

Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 29, (illus.), 49. H10

Natalie Wilson (Editor), Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Sydney, 2014, 127 (colour illus.), 162. 72