Ancestor Skull with Overmodeled Clay
Impressive human skull, its facial features remodeled with clay in a natural manner. Nose and ears formed freely. Characteristic spiral face painting, the eyes inset with cowrie shells, the forehead area above the arching brows decorated with nassa snails, traces of real hair. The clay coating is missing at the back area of the head. The natural skull is visible, showing traces of old age and weathering, small crack. In overmodeling the ancestors skull, the spirit and vitality of the being should return and support the living descendants with its power. These skulls were kept on special shelves in the men´s house, where women and children were not allowed to see them. Just on special occasions, like remembrance ceremonies when they would be adorned and displayed in public. Provenance: Manfred Steffmann, Günne, Germany (collected 1950 – 1958) Literature Aumann, Georg, Kunst und Kunsthandwerk aus Neu Guinea, Coburg 1986, p. 12.
Papua, New Guinea