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Memorial pole (bisj)

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Asmat artists of New Guinea carved poles (bisj) as memorials to clan members killed during warfare. The poles were erected after successful counterattacks to avenge the deaths. These poles may be understood as canoes incorporating ancestral figures, which carried the spirits of clan members to...

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Purchased from Wayne Heathcote, New York, 1986.

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

Ramu-Keram, Papua New Guinea, 20th century


142.24 cm (56 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, pigment, vegetable fiber, beads, and feathers


Africa and Oceania