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

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

Bark Paintings, Keram River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea

[Keram River ancestor figures with birds: 44k]

Figure 1: Keram River spirit figures on bark panels. This gable section, approximately 15 feet high (5 meters), was part of the Angoram Haus Tambaran in the 1980s.

Village buildings are framed with log posts and beams lashed together without the use of nails. The bottom posts are stilts elevating the living area above the yearly wet season floods. Roofs are thatched with rows of plaited palm fronds and walled with plaited panels. Floors are made from the bark of the limbom tree which is unrolled in long sheets. Using these techniques, the clans build enormous ceremonial houses, the Haus Tambarans.

Bark paintings are displayed in the gable ends of a Haus and sometimes over the whole ceiling and parts of the walls. The panels, called pangals, are made from flattened pieces cut from the thick sheath end of the sago palm leaf. Pigments are clays, charcoal, powdered lime from shells and paints from the trade store.

The Angoram Haus Tambarans were built by men from many different villages after World War Two as a place to gather, carve and market their artifacts. Angoram is the administrative post for the Sepik River. It sits at the end of one of only three roads that go out through the jungle to this enormous river from the small coastal town of Wewak.

During the 1960s, some of the Keram River men came up to Angoram to work. They also sold their carvings and bark paintings in the Haus Tambaran. The barks illustrating their clan stories were beautiful, but hard to sell since they are difficult to pack and ship. Some of the men began to experiment with other surfaces.

[Bark Painting: 48k]

Figure 2: Two bark panels lashed to a cane support. These are tied in sequence to the timber supports that form the gable. Panels may decorate both the inside and the outside faces and sometimes the walls.

Next: Story Boards



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Diary entry, 1986: Buying in the Angoram Haus Tambaran

Copyright Carolyn Leigh, 1996. All rights reserved.

Next: Story Boards

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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