This is Why I Love Tribal Art: a New Guinea Woven Headdress

From time to time, I will post examples of tribal art from different cultures which are artistically and cultural compelling. This is the 6th installment in the series.

Woven headdress from the Kiwai Islands or Torres Straits. Probably 19th century. Private Collection

The Kiwai Islands are a chain of small islands at the mouth of the Fly River in southwestern Papua New Guinea, near the Torres Straits that separates New Guinea from Australia (see map below). Headdresses of this type have been found in both of these areas. Woven from rattan, this highly charismatic example is one of the finest in existence. It is tightly constructed, and is embellished with pleasing soft colors that are still present. It main charm clearly lies in the facial representation, which minimalist, yet distinctly figurative. A true masterpiece of Oceanic art!

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