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This is a free-standing sculpture with an over-sized, stylized human head supported by a small body. The stool was not used as a seat, but as a debating lectern. The clan would sit in a circle around the lectern and the men would speak in turn, often using a small bunch of sacred leaves to beat the stool at each important point in his speech.

This is a very elaborate example, depicting a figure sitting on a stool. The figure represents the “wagen”, or central spirit – the primeval creator. The body is small, and the head is enlarged and elongated with protruding eyes. The face is studded with large and small cowry shells and the rim is decorated with cassowary feathers. There are extensive painted designs using black, white and reddish-brown pigments. There are two carved crocodile on the face, and four pig tusks near the nose. Hand-twisted raffia fiber cords are attached to the protruding ears, around the ankles and wrists, and a rattan belt wraps around the waist.

There is a smaller head on the backside, giving the illusion of another man sitting backwards on the stool.

The piece was collected in the 1960’s by a ranger/surveyor, who gave his collection to the parents of Adrian Nicholas in 1987.

Late 19th century/early 20th century

51"H x 16"W x 12"D


SKU: 036
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