We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Title

Tavi (coconut spoon)

early 20th century-mid 20th century
collected 1965

Artist

Iatmul people

Papua New Guinea

Alternate image of Tavi (coconut spoon) by Iatmul people
Alternate image of Tavi (coconut spoon) by Iatmul people
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Tambanum Village Middle Sepik River East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
    Cultural origin
    Iatmul people
    Dates
    early 20th century-mid 20th century
    collected 1965
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    coconut shell
    Dimensions
    14.7 x 9.0 x 7.4 cm
    Credit
    Purchased 1965
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    379.1994
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Iatmul people

    Works in the collection

    44

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  • About

    Spoons created from coconut shell – known as 'tavi' – were once widespread in the Sepik region. According to Tambanum villager Mark Kuatno, this 'tavi' was carved with the form of a 'gapma kami', the totem of the catfish clan. A hole drilled through the top of the mouth would have been threaded with bush string to suspend the spoon, following use.

    [entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 9]

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 44. cat.no. 40, 'Coconut spoon. Tambanum village (Iatmul). Coconut shell. 14.5l Collected 1965'

Other works by Iatmul people

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