Very Rare Huge Old Ethnic Hunting & Gathering Water Gourd, Calabash Decorated with Woven Bark Strips, Nassa Shells & Seed Beads, Dani Tribe, Baliem Valley, Irian Jaya, West Papua, 30" Long, collected in late 20th Century

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Rare older very large and unique tribal water gourd.

From the Dani tribe, Irian Jaya, West Papua.

Decorated all over with a hand twisted, & then woven, Bilum twine made of bark fiber, with, in addition, Nassa shells, Cuscus fur & seed beads accents as well as spots of woven yellow dendrobium orchid fiber, and a wood stopper, hand carved in the image of a Dani man's face, wearing a decorative cap on its head, also made of woven twine (the original stopper was lost on a hunting trip so a tribal member carved a new one at the time: the gourd is much older than the stopper that now corks it. A hand woven strap of bark fiber twine completes the receptacle, for easy carrying.

It is hard to grown gourds to this very large size except with daily tending using weights which the Dani are very knowledgeable of, taking great pride and gaining notoriety with the results, from the tribe. This is why it used to belong to the chief of the Dani village, seen on one of the photos.

One of a kind. Highly collectible and authentic.

Makes a great Designer art accent in a home as well as a conversation piece.

Size is huge: 30" long and 22" around the largest part.


(seen on most of the photos)

(The largest gourd we ever located. A  book next to it, on one photo, shows its very large size)

The Dani of the central highlands, perhaps the best-known of the Irianese, live in communities of tidy little thatch-and-wood huts, surrounded by neatly kept gardens of sweet potato vines. Kept apart from each other for centuries by hostile terrain and long traditions of inter-tribal warfare, headhunting and cannibalism, these remote tribes has evolved an astonishing degree of cultural and linguistic diversity in spite of the isolation. Dani religion, like warfare, is based on spirit placation. Staying on the good side of the spirits was crucial for survival and prosperity. All ceremonies and pig killings were directed a winning their favor. Sacred objects, called ganekhe, which included stones which we also carry, can be manipulated to prevent the approach of spirits. Enclosures for ghosts, with bundles of grass representing the deceased, are located far from the villages.

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 possible. If you have any questions or want to see research conducted on this piece and photos of tribes, tell us.