Overmodeled skull – Papua New Guinea

20th century
Tribal Art
From: 75003, PARIS, France

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    Overmodeled skull – Papua New Guinea
    New Ireland is a province of Papua New Guinea. Together with New Britain and other islands, it forms what is known as the Bismarck Archipelago.
    In New Ireland, over-modeled skulls were used to remember dead people; they were considered representations of the ancestors: approximately two months after the burial, the skull was exhumed and modeled in order to be part of the ritual activities of a second, more elaborate funeral ceremony, accompanied by dances and songs in honor of the deceased, which could take place years later.
    The overmodeled skulls were also used ritually in the uli cult, whose ceremonies were closely linked to the commemoration of important ancestors of a clan, where the transfer of power to surviving relatives and the preservation of the existing social order are central.
    We can also assume that the overmodeled skulls were associated with magical rituals to cause rain. Skulls were considered mediators between this world and the afterlife. They were displayed on specially prepared altars. The ancestral spirits “present” in the skulls rested in Tridacna giga mussel shells filled with water – symbolizing fertilizing rain – and had the function of causing rain.
    To decorate the facial area, beeswax was usually used (sometimes also the sticky mass of the parinarium of the rose family obtained from fruits); To shape the hairstyle and fill the eye sockets, artists used laterite, a clay containing iron oxide. The sealing caps of the sea snail Turbo petholatus form very distinctive eyes. Another feature is the wide, slightly open mouth, framed by a rounded lip.
    The skull presented here offers all the characteristics of the genre, it is covered with a layer of earthy coating.

    REGION: New Ireland, Papua New Guinea
    MATERIAL: Bone, earth, pigment
    PERIOD: 20th century
    SIZE: 25 x 20 x 13 cm

    Inventory number: OC032

    Ref: KHYYT9TM7G

    Condition Good
    Style Tribal Art (Oceanic Common and rituals objects of Tribal Art Style)
    Period 20th century (Oceanic Common and rituals objects 20th century)
    Country of origin Papua New Guinea
    Length (cm) 25
    Width (cm) 13
    Depth (cm) 20
    Materials Bone, Glass
    Shipping Time Ready to ship in 4-7 Business Days
    Location 75003, PARIS, France
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