An image of Kaua tikit (orator's stool)

Iatmul people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Kaua tikit (orator's stool)

Other titles:
Debating stool, Ceremonial debating stool, Ceremonial stool, kawa teket, kawa rigit, teket
Not on display
Further information

Claytus Yambon of Korogo village describes four types of 'tikit' (stool) found in Iatmul villages: 'vala tikit' (canoe stool), 'gaai tikit' (house stool), 'geko tikit' used by men in the 'geko' (men's ceremonial house), and the 'kaua tikit', found in the centre of every 'geko'. When men debate, the leaves of the 'kaua' (Cordyline) plant are placed one by one on the 'kaua tikit' to emphasise a point.

'Kaua tikit' and the sacred 'garamut' slit drum represent the village, and the power to control the village is sounded on the 'kaua tikit' and the 'garamut' to call the spirits. The body of the figure on this 'kaua tikit' shows ritual scarification marks, with a 'yatjanji' (four-pointed star) surrounding the navel, as conveyed by Toby Wanaki of Tegowi village.

[entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 26]

Place of origin
Middle Sepik River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Iatmul people
early 20th century-mid 20th century
Sculpture, Ceremonial object
carved wood, conus shell, cane, red and white natural earth pigments
136.5 38.0 x 34.0 cm overall; 52.0 cm height stool
Purchased 1962
Accession number
© Iatmul people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics