101 x 10 x 10 inches (256.5 x 25.4 x25.4 cm)
April River area, Upper Sepik River, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Asia Gift of Donald and Sue Dugan in memory of Douglas Newton
Musical instruments make up the majority of objects sacred to the Wogamiusin people. Most important among these are slit gongs, whose carved finials take the form of humans, birds or the stylized crocodile as seen on this example. Slit gongs are believed to be personified female water spirits, indicated by the face at the object’s center. They are kept in the Communal Men’s Society house and played during special ceremonies surrounding warfare and society initiations. Women are not permitted to see them played since drumming is explained as spirit voices.