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
- Place Made: Doreh Bay (possibly), New Guinea, Cenderawasih Bay, Papua or West Papua Province, Indonesia
- 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
- 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%)