Arts of the Pacific Islands
Human skull, clay, pigment, cowrie shells, human hair
early 20th century
8 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. (21.6 x 19.1 x 23.5 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Frank L. Babbott Fund
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Iatmul. Ancestral Skull, early 20th century. Human skull, clay, pigment, cowrie shells, human hair, 8 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. (21.6 x 19.1 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 62.18.1. Creative Commons-BY
left, 62.18.1_side_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.
Modeled clay on human skull (Mbwatnggowi [?]). Condition of object is fair. Claylike material and paint appear to be unstable on proper right forehead, and upper decorative border on the proper left eye. Surfaces are dusty.
From catalogue card: Human skull modeled over with clay and painted red with black designs. Cowrie shell inlaid for eyes and design in shell also on forehead and around head. Twisted strands of black human hair attached to back of skull. Condition: Good. Collected in 1934-36 during voyage of the ship "Korrigane." Such skulls were used by the Iatmul in funerary ceremonies where they were set atop a figure, and in fertility ceremonies where they were displayed atop of poles and manipulated as marionettes. The skull of the dead ancestor, or one who was thought to be beautiful, was decorated to imitate the facial painting of the deceased. Skulls of headhunting victims were similarly decorated and kept as trophies.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.