Wuramon soul boat, Asmat, Irian Jaya / Papua New Guinea.
Wuramon are bottomless carved canoes, made out of light wood, used at ceremonies that celebrates the spirits of the recently dead and the initiation of young boys. It is carved behind the temporary house during the day, and hidden by sago leaves at night. It is then taken into the temporary house until the ceremony. The wuramon represents the great voyage to the land of the dead and combines death and rebirth.
This soul boat, in classic openwork form, is adorned with 4 figures: the spirit passenger represent a recently deceased ancestor, the bird-like figures "ambirak" are dangerous female spirits that live in rivers and a turtle "mBu" is symbolizing fertility and safety. The outside is decorated with incised linear motifs and polychrome pigments.
Condition: remains of black, red, and white pigment, min. dam., cracks, weathered, traces of wear and use.
L: 190 cm - 74.8 inch.
purchased from a lady whose aunt was a teacher in Irian Jaya during the sixties - seventies.