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Pacific art

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Title

Pelu kámané (serving bowl)

mid 20th century
collected 1965


Artist

Sawos people

Papua New Guinea


About

Kamangaui is one of several Sawos villages known for their conical-shaped pottery bowls, used for serving food. Pots and sago are traded from Kamangaui to Timbunke and Tambanum on the Sepik River, in exchange for fish, requiring a three-hour walk in either direction.

Clay is dug solely by women who also make the initial form using a coiling technique. Men then decorate the pots with a prodigious variety of designs, each depicting specific totems of the clans they represent. With its slightly closed opening that keeps food warm, this bowl is known as a 'pelu kámané'. According to Gabriel Mowe from Kamangaui, the design recalls the 'silik nyuwa' (spider webs) found inside a village house.

[entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 11]


Details


Cultural origin

Sawos people


Dates

mid 20th century
collected 1965


Media category

Ceramic


Materials used

earthenware, coiled and chip-carved


Dimensions

24.0 cm height; 25.5 diameter


Credit

Purchased 1965


Location

Not on display


Accession number

419.1994


Artist information

Sawos people

Works in the collection

6


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


Referenced in 1 publication

Bibliography


Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 46. cat.no. 110; 'Serving bowl. Karawari River? Clay, low fired, carved. 24 h. Collected Tambanum 165'