Collections: Arts of the Pacific Islands: Ancestral Figure (Korwar)

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    62.18.2_SL1.jpg CUR.62.18.2_front_print_bw.jpg 62.18.2_front_acetate_bw.jpg CUR.62.18.2_threequarter_print_bw.jpg CUR.62.18.2_back_print_bw.jpg 62.18.2_side_acetate_bw.jpg

    Ancestral Figure (Korwar)

    Korwar figures serve to keep surviving relatives in contact with their deceased ancestors and thus always able to secure their powerful blessings. They serve as a medium of communication between the living and the dead. Korwars may be standing or squatting figures. The heads are large in relation to the highly abstract bodies; the chin is usually straight, horizontal, and broad; and the nose is the most prominent facial feature. This highly unusual double figure holds a shield (now partially eroded). The shield has been said to derive from the snake, which in turn represents rejuvenation and regeneration, a key idea in the religion of the people of Cenderawasih Bay.

    • Medium: Wood
    • Geographical Locations:
    • Dates: early 20th century
    • Dimensions: 8 3/4 x 6 x 5 1/4 in. (22.2 x 15.2 x 13.3 cm)  (show scale)
    • Inscriptions: La Korrigaine expedition marking, D.39.3/1018
    • Collections:Arts of the Pacific Islands
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 62.18.2
    • Credit Line: Frank L. Babbott Fund
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Ancestral Figure (Korwar), early 20th century. Wood, 8 3/4 x 6 x 5 1/4 in. (22.2 x 15.2 x 13.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 62.18.2. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 62.18.2_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Catalogue Description: Korwar (mortuary figure). Carving is that of two figures, male and female, holding a stylized snake, each figure with one arm on a snake and the other arm on the free arm of the other figure. Male figure wears a tiny cap on top of his head. Condition: completely worm eaten around lower section. Top is in good condition.
    • Record Completeness: Best (87%)
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