Wooden board "Gobe"
Papuan Gulf, New Guinea, early to mid 20th century, private collection from Finland.
Gobe or spirit boards (called also Kwoi) are powerful ceremonial objects made in Papuan Gulf of New Guinea. Gobe boards are one of the most recognisable artworks from the Island of New Guinea. They represent the spirits of ancestral heroes that can protect clans from evil spirits, sickness and death.
In pre-European contact times the Papuan Gulf people build massive ceremonial houses called "Ravi" where the gobe boards and other important ceremonial objects were kept hidden away (from the uninitiated and women). Gobe boards were often placed on shrines that had various boar skulls and human skulls from headhunting raids placed around them on racks called "Agiba".
The gobe boards are often made from the sides of an old canoe. A full size board is made and named by the uncle of a boy for his intitation ceremony. The warriors are also awarded gobe boards for each act of bravery they perform in battle.
This absolutely stunning old gobe board depict the face of an ancestral spirit. Delicately carved and decorated wooden board are in good condition. Age-related wear and signs of ceremonial use. Painted with lime, red ochre and black pigment. Minor defects and cracks. Dust and dirt. Size approx. 62cm x 19,5cm.