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Suspension Hook (Tsambun)

Artist/Maker: Iatmul people (Middle Sepik River region, Papua New Guinea)

Date: probably 1st half of the 20th century
Medium: wood and paint
Overall: 43 x 15 1/4 x 2 in. (109.2 x 38.7 x 5.1 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of The Rubin - Ladd Foundation
Object number: 2005.43.24
DescriptionThe Iatmul people of the middle reaches of the Sepik River are well known for the richly painted and carved ceremonial objects. A hook such as this may be used to suspend personal possessions or human skulls of ancestors or ceremonial kills. The images on this hook probably refer to clan totems. The hornbills are classified by the Iatmul as male symbols and are associated with the sky. The outspread wings of the diving bird at the bottom recall the crescent shape of the moon, which is female. The human face at the top is of indeterminate gender.
Not on view