Spirit Figure / Hook / Staff. Sepik River. Middle Sepik. Iatmul people. Tambaran. Suspension Hook. Papua New Guinea
The middle Sepik Region of New Guinea is populated primarily by the Iatmul people, inhabiting small villages along the banks of the Sepik River and its tributaries. Life in these villages centers around the Spirit House (Haus Tambaran). Within its walls are a vast display of masks, statues, staffs, hooks, weapons . . . where only initiated warriors are allowed to enter. These gatherings were secret, especially about what went on within.
Suspension hooks and derivations of them are hung from cords to safeguard food, clothing, weapons and other items. Placed around these hooks are representations of ancestral spirits, totemic animals and ritual/ceremonial objects.
Before embarking on a raid or hunting trip, men would gather in the Tambaran and “consult” with the image depicted on the hook . . .. looking for good hunting wishes from the ancestors. Frequently, these hunters would sacrifice chickens, betel nut or other items… again to honor the ancestors.
Exactly what rituals were conducted in these secret . . . well . . . is secret and only initiated members were allowed full knowledge of them and what unique carvings/objects were used.
This authentic suspension hook is related to hunting and not protecting food or clothes.
This hook has been kept in very good condition. Acquired from a lifelong collector of PNG artifacts.
For the Serious Collector.