Lot n° 31
1500 - 2000
Cenderawasih Bay (formerly Geelvink... - Lot 31 - Giquello
Cenderawasih Bay (formerly Geelvink Bay),
Irian Jaya, New Guinea
H. 76 cm
Large and beautiful drum with a korwar figure at the top and curvilinear motifs at the bottom of the handle.
According to an Asmat creation myth, the primordial hero Fumeripits gave life to the first human beings by creating sculptures of men and women, which he animated by making them dance to the sound of his drum. This explains the pre-eminent place of carved drums in Asmat culture.
As Philippe Bourgoin points out ("Korwar. Northwest New Guinea ritual art according to missionary sources", 2020), the term korwar is thought to mean "soul of the dead", or to derive, depending on the ethnic group, from the expression kor karwar: "to invoke the soul".
The image of the korwar is the most widespread decorative motif in the region's art. When, as here, it is depicted on the handle of a drum, it is a reminder that the voices of the ancestors were heard through the sound of the drums that men beat during festivals and ceremonies.
Conforms to use, a few cracks and chips on the surface, the reptile skin that originally covered it is missing, patina of use.
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