An image of Amo ato (tree fern head)

Fore people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Amo ato (tree fern head)

Not on display
Further information

The Fore men carve human heads into fern trees ('amo ato') to make scarecrows. They are placed in the gardens especially during the season during which new crops are planted. Some of these fern heads are also placed outside houses to trick sorcerers ('tukavu'). When they see these figures, they believe that there is someone at home and they go away.

Alphonse Kona, University of Papua New Guinea, 2014

Place of origin
Okapa (Moke), Okapa District, Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Fore people
mid 20th century
collected 1964
Ceremonial object, Mixed media
tree fern, shells, remains of bird feathers, 2 pig tusks, 9 mammalian teeth, white and pale red natural pigments, plant fibre string
36.5 x 17.0 x 21.5 cm :
0 - Whole, 36.5 cm (14 3/8"), height including feather headband
0 - Whole, 17 cm (6 11/16")
0 - Whole, 21.5 cm (8 7/16")
Purchased 1977
Accession number
© Fore people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics