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Yanda (bow) and timu (arrows)

mid 20th century
collected 1968


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Title
    Bow and arrows
    Place where the work was made
    Porgera Enga Province Papua New Guinea
    Cultural origin
    Ipili people
    mid 20th century
    collected 1968
    Media category
    Arms & armour
    Materials used
    black palm bow, liana vine, cowrie shells (Cypraeidae), bamboo, carved wood, plaited split-rattan binding, red parrot feathers, red ochre pigment, white/grey clay, plant fibre string
    bow 163 cm length, 3.5 cm diameter; arrows 118 to 127 cm length, 0.9 to 2 cm diameter
    Gift of Stan Moriarty 1978
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Ipili people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    Ipili leadership in the Porgera Valley was held by 'akali andane' (Big Men) and 'nembo yene' (Wise Men), who were great orators, warriors and successful negotiators. Before Christian missionisation in the 1960s, rituals of growth ensured that young Ipili boys became proficient hunters and warriors. Spells were learned to ensure arrows would cause infection in an enemy's wounds, or would find their mark more easily with challenging prey.

    'Yanda' (bows) made from black palm wood were sometimes decorated with 'wate' (cowrie shells) traded through Enga exchange partners. 'Embo' (bowstrings) were made from 'teya' (liana vine). Each 'timu' (arrow) was painstakingly created for a specific target or purpose. 'Andawa' were barbed and difficult to remove. 'Kanudua' had a knife-like blade. 'Kopi' contained a broad-blade 'blood gutter' and were used for pigs and cassowaries. Decorated arrows, known as 'talango', were principally ceremonial. 'Wanga' were pronged and used for hunting birds.

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

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication