bis pole, mangrove wood, New Guinea, Asmat

Bis Pole, 20th century

Wood, pigmentexpand_more

The Putnam Dana McMillan Fundexpand_more  74.79.1

G256expand_more

This is a ritual bis pole created to honor a recently deceased, important member of society. The family commissions an artist to carve a pole out of a single piece of wild nutmeg tree, representing clan members who have passed on. Its shape evokes a canoe, the main mode of transportation for the living and the dead, and a vehicle to take the spirit to the next world. The pole is displayed at a great community ceremony and a mock battle is staged around its base to appease any restless spirits. Then it is ritually disposed of, its purpose complete.

Details
Title
Bis Pole
Role
Artist
Accession Number
74.79.1
Curator Approved

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bis pole, mangrove wood, New Guinea, Asmat