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On the Sepik River, large ceremonial houses called tamberans were built for men's initiations, secret ceremonies, and other male gatherings held apart from the rest of the community. Tamberans were decorated inside and out with paintings and carvings depicting ancestors and clan totems. On this...

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Photographs of object in situ on men's house, taken by Buhler in 1959 and by Douglas Newton in 1964. Sold at Sotheby's, London in 1981. Purchased from Wayne Heathcote, New York, May 1986. Given to the MFA by William and Bertha Teel in 1992.

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

Sawos people, Papua New Guinea, 19th–20th century

Object Place

Tolembi Village, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea


Overall: 38.1 x 121.9cm (15 x 48in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, pigment, fibers


Africa and Oceania


Architectural elements