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Art-Pacific (Carolyn Leigh - Ron Perry): Guide to Artifacts

Palambei Village, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea

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[Palambei hook: 12k]

Palambei is a short, 20 minute walk off the Sepik past the extensive village gardens. The village was bombed during WWII and its stilt houses and Haus Tambarans destroyed. The towering house posts from some of the old structures still loom protectively over the long, grassy area between the two current Haus Tambarans.

Palambei women lay out their string bags, called bilums in Tok Pisin, for sale along this strip. Sepik bilums are strong, made with fairly heavy string and an open weave which expands to hold almost anything that needs carrying including babies. The designs are named. For example, one ribbed design is called "bone fish". Sometimes they are bilased with tassels, seeds or shells.

Women make small bilums for their close male relatives. The men carry cigarettes, money, betel nut and hunting or other magic charms in them. The large work bilums are the women's. A medium size is made for sale to tourists.

Palambei carvings are very open and curvilinear with lots of finely painted details. Birds associated with the clans are a favorite subject. Another one of their hooks is illustrated in the article on Basket Hooks in our Guide to Artifacts.

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back to Guide to Sepik River Carvings

Browse Sepik River villages - Middle Sepik: Aibom | Chambri Lakes | Kamindimbit | Kandangai | Kanganaman | Koiwat and Kamangauwi | Korogo | Mindimbit | Mumeri | Palambei | Tambanum | Yamok | Yentchan | Yenichenmangua | see also Karawari and Blackwater Rvs | above Pagwi: Ambunti Mtns (Waskuk) | Hunstein | Japandai | near Angoram and below: Angoram | Imbando and Taway | Kambaramba | see also Ramu Rv

[Map of the middle length of the Sepik River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea: 9k]

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Melanesian art TOC | Map of art areas of Melanesia
Papua New Guinea: Highlands: body art - Bundi tapa - jewelry/dancers | Karawari and Blackwater Rivers: masks - carvings - map | Massim: artifacts- Trobriand Kula - map | Kula canoe | New Britain: Baining - Sulka - Tolai dukduk | New Ireland: Malagan | Ramu River: masks - carvings - map | Sepik River: masks - carvings - villages - map | Papuan Gulf: masks - carvings - map - Gogodala - Kukukuku
other areas: Asmat | Solomon Islands: crafts - jewelry - map
art and craft:
barkcloth (tapa) | body art | cane and fiber figures | canoes and prows | jewelry/dancers | masks - Middle Sepik | phallocrypts | pottery - Chambri | shields | story boards | suspension hooks | weapons | yam masks - fiber | yam masks - wood

Indonesian art TOC | Dyak baby carriers and masks | furniture | Java folk art | Lombok baskets | Lombok lontar boxes | masks from Bali and Java | puppets

China: Bai textiles/art TOC | baby carriers | baby hats | woodblock prints

Collecting New Guinea art in the field since 1964.

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Artifacts on this site were collected in the field by my husband, Ron Perry. I take the photographs, do the html, text and maps. Background in Who We Are. Art-Pacific has been on the WWW since 1996. We hope you enjoy our New Guinea tribal art and Indonesian folk art as much as we do. by Carolyn Leigh is licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0