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Figures 1 and 2: Samban carvings of ancestor figures encircled by totems of guardian wildlife. Valuables and ritual objects are hung on the samban for protection and power.
Yamok is several hours walk off the Sepik. The men carve a bird (subut) from their creation story.
In the beginning, the Yamoks say everything was fluid. A crocodile raped a woman form, but the bird pulled the woman away from the clutches of the crocodile and flew her away to the safety of the grass country. She laid two eggs, which the bird helped her tend. When they hatched, one was a human form. The other was a crocodile man (kombiomo) who now lives in the barets (channels) and raunwaras (oxbow lakes) between Yamok and Korogo. The kombiomo is more likely to be evil than kind.
Woman are said to hold the knowledge of the people, while men hold the power. The carving of a woman inside a power circle is protective, keeping the poison of sorcerers and other evil away.
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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.
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