Iatmul people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Ambusap (wealth object)

Location
Not on display
Further information

In 1930, during an expedition through the Sepik region, Swiss ethnologist Felix Speiser documented Iatmul women wearing woven hoods across their heads as protection from the elements. Not only did these hoods have a practical use, they were also observed at Yentchan village by the Australian filmmaker Des Bartlett, who travelled to the Sepik in 1953, in use as part of the 'Naven' ritual performance as described by anthropologist Gregory Bateson, where they are worn by men during mythological re-enactments involving female ancestors.

Woven from estuarine reeds this rain hood is decorated with knotted and looped elements, painted with alternating stripes of red, yellow, black and white pigments, and finished with unwoven lengths of reed to form a fringe.

Place of origin
Middle Sepik River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Iatmul people
Year
early 20th century-mid 20th century
Media
Ceremonial object
Medium
plaited plant fibre, nassa shells, cowrie shells
Dimensions
108.0 cm length
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Credit
Gift of Todd Barlin 2020. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number
183.2020