Probably Abelam, East Sepik River. Virtually representing the wealth of a family or, at least, its patriarch. Base on a fine woven vine band, the top edge is adorned with a splay of cassowary feathers, several tipped with small hackle feathers, probably parrot. The central display is an attack on the senses in New Guinea culture. Four pairs of boar tusks, the middle protruding menacingly, flank a large mollusk shell, laboriously polished to half width. Below, additional gastropods have been polished to represent facial features completed by a mouth woven in the base band. Flanking the central display and more significant to the owner, his community and the knowledgeable collector is a display of cowries, skillfully arranged by size. Cowries are not native to New Guinea and were imported as a means of exchange. Miners earned one cowrie for a day’s work, which in itself was revolutionary as the concept of providing labor for payment had no foundation in New Guinea culture. Just about everything he could produce or acquire is displayed on this headdress which in New Guinea culture, defined the man. Beautiful display.
Stock Number: FNS4684

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