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Lot n° 31

Flute stopper wusear Biwat (Mundugumor), Yuat...

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Flute stopper wusear Biwat (Mundugumor), Yuat River Papua New Guinea Wood, feathers, shell H. 64 cm Flute stopper wusear Biwat (Mundugumor), Yuat River Papua New Guinea H. 25¼ in Provenance: - Charles Ratton - Galerie Kamer, acquired in 1966 by Emile Veranneman - Emile Veranneman - Passed on by descent Residing in the Lower Sepik region, the Biwat (or Mundugumor as their neighbors call them) are renowned for their powerful, evocative sculptures. The flutes and wusear stoppers that accompany them are considered among their most sacred creations. Systematically kept out of sight, they are only taken out on very special ceremonial occasions. They also receive food offerings. Like other sacred goods, they are passed down from father to daughter and mother to son. Planted in the upper part of bamboo flutes, the cork represents a male spirit. These spirits are said to express themselves through the instrument. According to Philippe Peltier: "These corks were inalienable witnesses to alliances between clans. What's more, we know that they could also seal an alliance of mutual aid between two men following a warlike episode." Perched on a support, the figures always stand in a frontal position. The head is disproportionate to the rest of the body and slightly bent forward. The forehead in particular is very elongated. Here, the top is crowned with a profusion of dark feathers. The ear is treated delicately, but not realistically. The eyebrows, as if in relief, overhang inlaid eyes. The nose is prominent. The mouth is small, shaped like a half-moon. The beard collar is pierced with small perforations. A similar piece was in Arthur Speyer's collection.

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