1900.55.454

Carved wooden board, decorated with human form on a white background, with a metal nose ring [SM 24/11/2008]

Place details: OCEANIA MELANESIA. Papua New Guinea / Gulf Province. Cultural Group: Elema Local Name: hohao Materials: Wood Plant / Pigment / Metal / ?. Processes: Carved / Painted / ?. Dimensions: Max L = 1245 mm Max W = 255 mm Depth = 60 mm Field Collector: ? Norman Heywood Hardy. When Collected: By 1900 Other Owners: This object belonged to the Norman Heywood Hardy collection which was purchased by Robert Francis Wilkins who donated it to the Museum in 1900. PRM Source: Robert Francis Wilkins Acquired: Donated September 1900 Other Numbers: 454

KEYWORD: Ceremonial Object / Figure / CLASS: Ceremonial / Figure / ?.

Publications history, trails & websites: Illustrated in colour as Plate 14 on page 85 of Embodied Spirits: Gope Boards from the Papuan Gulf, edited by Virginia-Lee Webb (Milan: 5 Continents Editions, 2016). Caption (page 84): '14. Spirit board (hohao) | Elema people | 19th century | Wood, pigment | H. 124.5 cm | Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, UK (1900.55.454) | Provenance: Robert Francis Wilkins, purchased and presented September 1900 | Collected by Norman H. Hardy.' NB According to the credits on page 4, the image was taken by Paul Mutino. This is wrong. The image was taken for the Museum by Malcolm Osman. [JC 1 4 2016]

Research notes: Identified by Rob Welsch of the Field Museum, Chicago as being from the Papuan Gulf, Elema region. [CK 17 06 1998]

Information obtained from Joshua Bell in February 2009 when writing text labels for this object. "This figure wears a feather headdress and is dancing, as inficated by his slightly uneven elbows and kneecaps. Such boards were home to the spirits, who in turn animated them. The board's spirit entered and left the carving through teh figure's navel (hekore)." [SM 25/02/2009]