Ceremonial headdress "Sepik"

250 €

East Sepik, Papua New Guinea, 20th century, private collection from Netherlands.

Gorgeous and unusual headdress are from Sepik River, Papua New Guinea. Sepik is the longest river on the island of New Guinea. In the Asia-Pacific region, the Sepik River's region is thought to be the largest freshwater wetlands that still remain uncontaminated by humans and industry. Enormous, over 1,126 km long Sepik River meander slowly through the forested lowlands, floodplains and backwater swamps. Along the banks of the river and its many tributaries live sparsely remote villages, scarcely contacted by the outside world. Many of the villages along East Sepik River did not have contact with Western world until the late 19th century and maintained a lifestyle that changed little for thousand years.

The people of diverse and ecologically rich Sepik region speaks more than 250 different languages are knitted together of trading and cultural interaction. The largest language and culture group along the river is the Iathmul-people (c. 10,000 people). The life is centered on the river. Men fish from their traditional dugout canoes to provide a primarily diet of fish, while women make sago out of the sago palm tree. Sepik is called a ”living gallery of tribal art”. The Sepik is one of the most profuse and diverse art producing regions of the world. The numerous different tribes living along the river produce magnificent wood carvings and clay pottery. In the same way, each clan's traditions are unique, so is their art. Unique in the style, colors, and design, and taking various shapes depending on the villages, stools, masks, totems, house posts, hooks, drums and shields. Many of these totems and masks aim to protect the villages and clans against evil spirits.

Stunning long ceremonial headdress from East Sepik region. Finely constructed horn-like headdress are made from wood, hand woven vegetal fiber and embellished with various inlaid cowrie shells and small glass beads. Good condition. Age-related wear and signs of use. Missing beads. Lovely encrusted dark patina. Dirt, soil and dust. Size approx. 63,5cm x 13,5cm.