South Pacific Art, Old rare large Ceremonia hand carved Ramu wooden Platter once used during initiations to serve Sago & grub collected on the Ramu River, Collectible oceanic art, Papua New Guinea, 60A5, 30"x11"

  • $390.00
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Huge size.


Oceanic Art Rare Older New Guinea Ceremonial Wooden Food bowl used to serve sago and grub worm during festivals, initiations, sing-sings etc...

From the Ramu River, Papua New Guinea 30" X 11" X 4"

Compare at $500.00-$600.00

Food bowls are very important items of use and trade and one way for different tribes to copy motifs of decoration distributed  throughout the region through trade, yet the designs usually are owned and cannot be copied promiscuously without consequence.  They commemorate some event or memory of the carver and  the interpretation must be obtained from the carver himself.  Sometimes designs are given as gifts to trading partners or are inherited. 

The wooden bowls from the Lower Sepik region, for instance, probably were received as gifts from trading partners or in trade from the Ramu, lower river villages, or one of the offshore islands.  The shape is copied from that of a canoe, embodying the notions of both container and vehicle.  This metaphor is common; Sepik people also may refer to the body as a canoe for the soul or spirit. 

 Food bowls for both daily and ceremonial use often are decorated on the bottom with circular designs representing objects (animals) with female associations and on the lugs or handles with male motifs.  These objects represent the domestic power of women to nurture as well as the power of men to dominate through feasting. 

Every item of use in daily life or war is symbolic and carved with motifs meant to protect the owner as spirits lurk in the woods and the tribe must be protected from their evil with carvings that repel them.

Amazingly beautiful considering the basic tools used on the premises such as pieces of broken shells, rusted nails from shipwrecks found on the beaches, and sea ray, shark skins or an animal horn or tusk rubbed for days against the surface till all is smooth, among other sanding tools which will produce a rich sheen on the wood. 

In great condition for an old and used dish and a great value at that price. It is very hard to come across such collectables unless you go there.

Such pieces are used by the indigenous people of the most primitive areas of Papua New Guinea. These proud people have managed, in the face of continued government and missionary pressure, to maintain a culture of incredible depth and beauty. For the most part, they still live by the same methods as have existed in their remote land for thousands of years. 

All our collector and rare items come with pages and pages of research about provenance, and with history of the tribes and photos as well, depending on item and whenever possible. When shipping internationally, we group ship multiple purchases to save you money, and find the best rates available. If you have any questions or want to see research conducted on this piece and photos of tribes, let us know.