Earthenware with mineral pigments
Diameter: 29 cm (11 7/16 in.); Overall: 12.6 cm (4 15/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1999.10
The Abelam people inhabit a hilly region of northeast New Guinea, north of the Sepik River. Their most spectacular art form is a towering spirit house, the gable decorated with brightly painted panels depicting ancestral spirits. Similar faces are carved on these food bowls, and colored with white, orange and yellow pigment after firing. While utilitarian pottery is made by women, decoration with sacred designs must be carried out by men. Ornamented bowls like these are displayed and exchanged at feasts.
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