Dimiri 10(Lamu Hearth Stand)


Such miniature hand modeled original sculptures, in this case a head, were made in two or three villages off the Yuat River, in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea.
Features are all hand modeled, then incised with a graving tool in decorative patterns over the surface. I have noticed here and elsewhere in the Sepik Region that eye sockets in wood masks are very often inset with cowrie shells, with their slit openings seen as half squinting eyes; well, this cowrie shell is imitated in the treatment of the eyes in these clay head representations: a liitle ball of applied clay with a horizontal incision is the logical equivalent to the cowrie shell. Another little ball of clay with a slit is the pursed mouth, you could say the "duck face". There is a gutsy feeling of grotesque, and of raw earthiness.

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