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Title

Taph (lime stick)

early 20th century-mid 20th century
collected 1965


Artist

Iatmul people

Papua New Guinea


About

With its distinctive beak, the bird on the top of this 'taph' (lime stick) was identified by Justin Kami of Tambanum village as the 'maingie', or palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus), a totemic emblem of a particular clan group in the Sepik belief system.

Among the Iatmul, who originated from the Sawos-speaking region north of the Sepik River, tribes are broken down into many 'ngaiva' (patrilineal totem clans), which are divided into moieties called 'nyowe' (sun) and 'nyame' (mother/earth). This duality arises from Iatmul origin myths. In the primordial waters, there lived a dual being in the form of a crocodile, Karokmali – Jamburamali. The spirit Karambuangga separated these beings: Jamburamali became the sky and Karokmali remained below and became the earth.

[entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 8]


Details


Cultural origin

Iatmul people


Dates

early 20th century-mid 20th century
collected 1965


Media category

Sculpture


Materials used

cassowary bone (Casuarius)


Dimensions

29.2 x 5.0 x 1.8 cm


Credit

Purchased 1965


Accession number

394.1994


Artist information

Iatmul people

Works in the collection

40


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 1 publication

Bibliography


Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 44. cat.no. 42, 'Lime stick, handle in the form of a parrot head. Tambanum village (Iatmul). Cassowary bone, carved. 43l Collected 1965 (49)'