Unknown Artist

Painting from ceremonial house

Other titles:
Bark painting, Spathe painting
Not on display
Further information

Throughout the Sepik river, in particular the lower Sepik groups of Anggoram and Kambot as well as the Abelam region, ceremonial houses were decorated with panels made from sago palm petiotes, known as 'panggals'. Using charcoal, ochres and other mineral pigments, artists painted onto panels, which were often bound together with plant fibre to form a larger surface on which to work.

These panels were adorned with paintings representing mythological beings, spirits and motifs from the Sepik plant and animal world. The motifs found on this panel resemble designs found on paintings collected on the Berlin Ethnological Museum's Sepik expedition of 1912-13, and reproduced in Heinz Kelm's 'Kunst vom Sepik' (catalogue numbers 328-332), published in 1966.

Place of origin
Yuat River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
possibly Biwat people
mid 20th century
collected 1965
sago palm petioles, plant fibre, orange-red ochre, white mineral clay and black pigments
103.7 x 63.0 cm :
0 - Whole; 8.5 cm; approx. depth of panels
Purchased 1965
Accession number