The decorated skulls of revered deceased elders were displayed in a place of honor in the family’s home. After death, the skulls were dried and stripped. The eye sockets were closed up with Job’s tears (croix lacrima jobi) to prevent evil spirits from entering. The object that is attached to his nasal area is the “bipane” that the deceased wore through the septum of his nose when alive. It was carved from a bailer shell (melo amphora) and is now attached with a woven rattan cord. The feathers are strung with Job’s tears and red Arbus beans (arbus pecatorius). Woven binding surrounds his skull, holding his jaw in place.
The Asmat were documented headhunters and cannibals, and as a consequence were left largely undisturbed until the mid-20th century.
Displayed in a custom made acrylic display case.
18"H x 13"W x 17"D