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Title

Konguwavi (gable finial of men's house)

mid 20th century
collected 1961


Artist

Iatmul people

Papua New Guinea


About

Aibom is one of the most important pottery manufacturing villages in the Sepik, where fire hearths, bowls, sago jars and gable ornaments are still traded across the region. Historically, pots were made by women, with decorative modelling undertaken by men. Today women both make and decorate pottery.

According to Alexia Kinjimali of Aibom, this 'konguwavi' (gable finial) depicts Kolimangge, the 'mother of all potters', who had the ability to conjure pots with her creative power alone. Kolimangge fled her husband and her homeland of Mavimbit, and hid on Aibom mountain. However, a man from Manggesauen found and assaulted her, and Kolimangge was turned to stone. Since then, women must make pots by hand. The rock forms of Kolimangge and her canoe remain on Aibom mountain to this day.

[entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 31]


Details


Other Titles

Roof ornament - female figure surmounted by a bird

Roof ridge ornanament

Roof finial with female figure surmounted by a bird


Cultural origin

Iatmul people


Dates

mid 20th century
collected 1961


Media categories

Ceramic , Sculpture


Materials used

earthenware, modelled, red, white and black natural pigments


Dimensions

43.2 x 19.0 x 29.0 cm


Credit

Gift of Stan Moriarty 1968


Accession number

IA1.1968


Artist information

Iatmul people

Works in the collection

40


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 3 publications

Bibliography


Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 45. cat.no. 75

Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, Sydney, Apr 1972, (illus.).

Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, Sydney, Apr 1969, front cover (illus.), 454.