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Marprik Ceremonial house Haus Tambaran Sago Palm bark painting . Cane support  on the back. 1960. Intact hanger fibre

630 x1000mm

Some areas of cracking to the top right of the painting.

Abelam Ceremonial house Bark Painting

  •  Early painting on bark represent an ancestral spirit figure or ndudama. These painted panels cover the inside and the façade of the great Spirit House or korambo (haus tambaran in Pidgin) that has place of pride in the village. Maprik (Abelam) area, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia. Sago bark, wood, cane and natural pigments.  Early to mid 20th century.

    The ndudama, the human figures on the façade painting  address a maira which for the Abelam is of primary significance: that of decorated men. The figures actually depict nare, ritual dancers common to all initiation ceremonies. In reality, and depending on context, nare wear either plaited, round noute headdresses or triangular, painted wagnen head pieces, which is why they are shown on the paintings as adornments. Like the nggwalnggwal, the ndudama are also endowed with female pubic triangles – for certain dances women wear this motif also as a facial pattern. The equal rendering in imagery of secret figures and ritual dancers which have, through seclusion and adornment, themselves become otherworldly entities, indicates that, in initiations, the Abelam do not distinguish between the two spheres, that is, human representatives and beings from the world beyond.

    From : Hauser-Schäublin, Brigitta : CEREMONIAL HOUSES OF THE ABELAM

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