The people of the Middle Sepik River region of New Guinea are divided into a number of clans, each of which is associated with specific ancestors and totemic species. These ancestral and totemic beings are represented by wooden figures kept in the men's ceremonial houses. Wooden figures such as this represent a category of powerful and dangerous ancestral beings called “wan” or “waken” and each figure owned by a specific clan is named for an important clan ancestor.
This figure is a stout man with overlarge head, wide hips and exaggerated genitalia. He has protruding eyes and two small pig tusks in his nose. His body has rough but deep incisions and is painted with local pigments of white, black and ochre.
Personally collected Firebird Voyage
Carving 35”H x 9”W x 7”D
Base is 12”L x 8”W