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Doorjamb (Jovo)

Arts of the Pacific Islands

  • Place Made: New Caledonia
  • DATES early 20th century
    DIMENSIONS 63 x 23 x 7 1/2 in. (160 x 58.4 x 19.1 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Anonymous gift
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Kanak. Doorjamb (Jovo), early 20th century. Wood, 63 x 23 x 7 1/2 in. (160 x 58.4 x 19.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous gift, 52.124. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 52.124_acetate_bw.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 This New Caledonia Kanak doorjamb consists of a rectangular plank (tale) with a slightly carved surface as it was carved from part of a tree trunk. The top third position of the tale is carved into a representation of a face, which is painted black. A horizontal band incised with converging chevrons is carved across the forehead which terminates in a point immediately above the nose. Two almond-shaped eyes, consisting of two deeply carved concentric bands, are nestled under the overhanging forehead and above the expansive nose that curves downward into a sharp point and in flanked by flaring rounded nostrils. The interior surface of the nostril is painted red. The mouth is wide and rectangular in shape and the recessed area is painted red. On the remaining surface of the doorjamb are carved three vertical rows of diamond shapes. The shape of each diamond is echoed by a series of concentric parallel lines which create a continuous pattern carved in deep relief across the lower portion of the jamb. The diamonds are painted black while the parallel lines are painted red. Condition: Good although there is paint missing at the tip of the nose, and along the shelf of the chin, and at other odd places along the board. The bottom is badly rotted, uneven, and lacks much paint. From accession card: This painted wooden house post was used as a doorjamb in the entrance of the house. The house was circular with a high conical roof that was thatched. At the top of the roof were spire-carvings. Carved planks served as door jambs (tale) and the lintels, skills, and some of the side posts (giroues) in the interior were also carved. A cedar-like wood was used and the tale was carved from parts of a tree trunk as can be seen from the still slightly curved surface. At the death of the head of the family, the house was destroyed and the carvings 'killed' by mutilation. The top third of this rectangular post is carved in a face which is painted black. On top of the forehead is a horizontal band with incised chevrons. The overhanging forehead comes to a triangle over the nose. The two coffee bean eyes are deeply carved in two concentric bands under the brow. The heavy nose is triangular with a pointed tip and two wide flaring rounded nostrils. The nostrils are painted red in the inside. The mouth is wide and rectangular and painted red in the depressed portion. There is no indication of lips. Slight modeling of the cheeks may be seen at the sides of the mouth, and there is moiling of the chin. The chin projects in a semi-lunar shape. The remaining two-thirds of the house post is decorated with deep relief carving of diamond shapes in a concentric, continuous overall pattern. The innermost diamond is painted black while the rest is all red. Condition: Good. Paint missing at tip of nose, along edge of chin, and at other odd places along the board. The bottom shows a sign of heavy use, some of it has been rotted away. Little pigment in this area has survived.
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