Hook figure

Korewori Area
Papua New Guinea

Middle Sepik

Carved wood
Early 20th century
Height: 21 ¼ in. (54 cm)

Ex collection Philip Goldman, London

Published: Sepik: Hooks, Figures & Masks, 2018

Price: on request

Melanesia – Papua New Guinea
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With its powerful formal values, this sculpture – called a yipwon – presents the classic characteristics of the way the human figure was represented in the ancient art of the Korewori area in the Middle Sepik region.
The torso shows a succession of four curved, pointed hooks representing the ribcage.
A representation of the skeleton of an ancestor or of a spirit linked to the sun, yipwon figures were highly sacred and associated with headhunting and war, invoked to insure success in battle.
This sculpture comes from the collection of the famous London dealer, collector, and anthropologist Philip Goldman. Between 1957 and 1969, he made several trips through Papua New Guinea, and in particular organized the 1971 exhibition of reference Hunstein Korowori introducing the public to the formerly unknown art of the region.