Arrow with bamboo shaft and wooden head. Head is painted with black pigment and has carved barbs and carved design highlighted with white pigment. Woven binding on head partially covered with resin (remnants of feathers). Further binding at join with shaft.

Arrow, Arop people, Lower Sepik River, Papua New Guinea. The complexity and precision of barbing on this finely carved Lower Sepik war-arrow is a beautiful and formidable expression of the remarkable skill of Sepik woodcarvers. Such arrows are practical tools, but we can see that function and aesthetic taste meet here harmoniously. The Arop are a people who live just inland from the coastal town of Aitape at the mouth of the Sepik River, and they are renowned for producing some of the highest quality woodcarvings in the river’s lower reaches. In particular, Arop drums and areca nut mortars are considered the finest in the area, but the balance, dynamic form and colourful decoration of this arrow also display that same skill and refinement. Hardwood, bamboo, pigment. Early 20th Century. Formerly in the private collection of Mrs Hazelwood.


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