This double figured betel mortar from Astrolabe Bay, in Papua New Guinea is a stunning example of New Guinean artistic traditions. The decoration, carved in raised relief, is still clearly visible. The male and female ancestor pair exemplifies the importance of the complimentary sexes in much of Papua New Guinean cosmology. The age of the mortar is evident by the use/wear patterns on both the inside cavity and exterior. The original red pigment is nicely patinated across the exterior, while remains of betel paste and wear from repeated use is noticeable inside the cavity.
Height: 4.75 in. high.