Indonesia, western Irian Jaya, Asmat people (who are closely related to people from Papua New Guinea), ca. mid 20th century CE. A softwood bowl in the form of a leaf sheath from the sago palm, with curved abstract zoomorphic relief carvings colored a distinctive ashy black, crushed limestone white, and reddish-orange made from clay. The dish was intended to serve the daily meal of roasted sago dough; sago, the starchy pith of a palm that grows in the region and forms eighty percent of the traditional Asmat diet. The human head at the top of the dish represents an ancestor and when not in use, dishes like this one were stored with the face turned away so that it could not stare at the family. Size: 15.5" W x 31" H (39.4 cm x 78.7 cm)
Provenance: private Pearson collection, Denver, Colorado, USA
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