Object Name: Ancestral spirit figure
Culture: Biwat peoples
Place of Origin: Yuat River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Date/Era: 19th century or earlier
Medium/Materials: Wood, shells, beads, plant fiber
Dimensions: H: 28 in, W: 3.7 in, D: 4 in (H: 11.0 in, W: 1.4 in, D: 1.6 in)
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.
Accession Number: X67.1115
Artists from the Sepik River region sometimes combine human and animal imagery in a single work of art to reference spirits or animals associated with clan origin stories. The animal head at the base of this figure is both a boar and a crocodile. This rare object was probably held or worn during ritual dance performances.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.