Collection: April River Boards


Enigmatic house planks and shields from the men's houses of the April River in the East Sepik Region of Papua New Guinea. These enigmatic boards range in date from the mid to late 20th century. From the collection of the late Dr. Robert V. Elam, Seattle, WA.

The men’s houses of the villages where the April River meets the Sepik River, are ceremonial houses supported by large wood posts and adorned with colorful carved planks. They portray a variety of animals, human-like images, and geometric motifs, which represent primordial beings and phenomena drawn from the oral traditions of the clans associated with the house.

The house panels are made of various heavy hardwoods, carved and colored with natural kaolin and pigments from white shell, black charcoal and yellow ochre.