Early 20th century. An older example of this iconic form, made in the Jimi Valley NW of Mount Hagen. 17” height with polished slate bit and angled body made from a natural branch crotch. The back of the fish tail form. The branch extending as a haft. The junction and socket wrapped with continuous bark strip intricately decorated by cutting the surface into a triangle and hound’s tooth patterned and stripping the areas between to provide relief decoration. An earlier dark wrap is evident below and the back shows evidence of an earlier wrap. That suggests that this is an heirloom item refreshed for use. These were largely ceremonial but used to sever fingers as grief sacrifices and as with all fine objects in the culture, signs of wealth. Mount Hagen lies east of Hela Province where 24 people were killed in tribal warfare in early July 2019.
Item ID: FNS10260

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