NEWSLETTER


Bruce Frank Primitive Art
New York City, NY
+1 917 733 9589

Two Coconut Shell Spoons, arita

Elema, Papuan Gulf, Papua New Guinea. Early 20th century

Provenance: William Ohly, London.  Peter Schnell collection, Switzerland, acquired from above in 1962.

These objects are perfect examples of how Papuan Gulf art can fuse both forms with function.  These spoons were both utilitarian objects and one of the items given to young men to use during the hevehe ritual cycle, where they chew ginger during a six-week isolation stage with strict food and sexual taboos. Young men use these special spoons exclusively to avoid possible contact with forbidden foods being consumed by people not undergoing initiation. The round open section at the top of the spoon was created so that tassels of dyed sago leaf and sprigs of ginger could be attached.  These examples were carved with a central spirit face and connected stylized torso. The design is carved in low relief and highlighted with crushed limestone powder. Included with these spoons are Schnell’s original inventory cards, presumably created shortly after he acquired the spoons in 1962 from Ohly.

Two Coconut Shell Spoons, arita

Elema, Papuan Gulf, Papua New Guinea. Early 20th century

Provenance: William Ohly, London.  Peter Schnell collection, Switzerland, acquired from above in 1962.

These objects are perfect examples of how Papuan Gulf art can fuse both forms with function.  These spoons were both utilitarian objects and one of the items given to young men to use during the hevehe ritual cycle, where they chew ginger during a six-week isolation stage with strict food and sexual taboos. Young men use these special spoons exclusively to avoid possible contact with forbidden foods being consumed by people not undergoing initiation. The round open section at the top of the spoon was created so that tassels of dyed sago leaf and sprigs of ginger could be attached.  These examples were carved with a central spirit face and connected stylized torso. The design is carved in low relief and highlighted with crushed limestone powder. Included with these spoons are Schnell’s original inventory cards, presumably created shortly after he acquired the spoons in 1962 from Ohly.

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google