Betel Mortar
Murik Lakes, Coastal Sepik River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, Early 20th C.
Wood, Pigment
Provenance: Ben Tursch, Brussels
Published: Assemblage, Bruce Frank Primitive Art, 2014, fig. 6

Archaic in style, this Betel Mortar is a unique example from Murk Lakes, in the East Sepik Province, a region yielding fewer objects compared to the Middle Sepik. This small, cup like object would have been used to aid in chewing betel nut and was also a mark of secular and religious authority. The bowl of the mortar is supported by an ancestral or spirit figure, depicted in a crouched position, with abstract facial features and geometric decoration. The surface of the mortar is well worn, suggesting heavy use.

Height: 5 in.
IN. 1-2-15/ SOLD