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Spirit Board (Gope)

Arts of the Pacific Islands

MEDIUM Wood, pigment
DATES early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 43 x 8 1/2 x 2 in. (109.2 x 21.6 x 5.1 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS Labels on back read: "Meagama - Gopi Delta Div. Papua 11/13/33 4 S. tobacco 8 [illegible] beads" and "8"; written and crossed out in red: "4.135L"; written in red: "51.118.6"
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of John W. Vandercook
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CAPTION Spirit Board (Gope), early 20th century. Wood, pigment, 43 x 8 1/2 x 2 in. (109.2 x 21.6 x 5.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of John W. Vandercook, 51.118.6. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 51.118.6_black_background.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 51.118.6_black_background.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Narrow oval plaque of wood is carved with a design consisting of isolated linear forms arranged along the vertical axis. From top to bottom is a circle with three downward-facing spokes, a stylized fast the sides of which terminate in elongated hook forms, a circle with four diagonally-branching spirals, a circle flanked by two abstract motifs; at the bottom there is another circle with three spokes: the middle spoke points straight up, the two side spokes curl inward. These designs are filled in with which pigment. Ochre and black pigment complete the surface decoration. The object is in good condition. The surface is worn and abraded from use, but stable. White paint is flaking in areas. Labels on back include a proper white label with "B'klyn, L 100.61" written and typed onto it respectively, two fabric tags- "Meagama- gopi, Delta div. Papua, 11/13/33 4s. Tobacco, 8 (?) beads" and "8" with "34.185L" written in red paint and crossed out. Traces of blue exhibition paint are located along top back edge.
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