An image of Jambukrikwaru (house post with owl face)

Iatmul people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Jambukrikwaru (house post with owl face)

Other titles:
House post, a head both sides at top, Post double head
Not on display
Further information

In earlier times, there was at least one 'geko' (ceremonial house) in every Sepik village. Today, clans that come from a common ancestor still construct a 'geko' together. The 'geko' contains ritual objects, including sacred flutes and masks, and is a meeting place only for men.

Carved from hardwood, this house post supported the floor in a 'geko'. The upper carving is from the owl totem clan and is described by artist Toby Wanaki of Tegowi village as the 'japmara mundama', or owl face, with the small ears of an owl clearly visible. When a new 'geko' is built, all the house posts are painted black, red or yellow, to celebrate the naming of the 'geko'. Remnants of black pigment are still visible on this 'jambukrikwaru'.

[entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 25]

Place of origin
Timbunke Village, Middle Sepik River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Iatmul people
early 20th century-mid 20th century
collected 1965
wood, black pigment
282.2 x 24.0 x 18.0 cm
Purchased 1965
Accession number