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Cassera Gallery

Gope Board, Papuan Gulf

Gope Board, Papuan Gulf

Regular price $799.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $799.99 USD
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The sculptural forms called ‘spirit boards’ are known by different names in the numerous ethnic regions of the Papuan Gulf and are called gope in several languages. They represent spirits that protect clans from sickness, malevolent spirits and death. Traditionally, boards were made with wood from discarded canoes, usually decorated with carved and painted designs on one side. The boards were carved by important men of an extended family or clan. In the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, men lived apart from women and uninitiated boys. Their houses had designated areas or shrines created for the display of items that indicated personal status and clan identity. Multiple boards were placed in these shrines and served as reminders to their owners about their responsibility to the clan and the community.

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