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sculpture, wood sculpture, wood

Wooden sculpture in the form of a crocodile painted with white and red color. Collected some time during the period 1913-14.Perhaps it is a totem animal. In the Sepik region, crocodiles are present in objects, myths and metaphors, all of which speak of people’s relationship to the animal. A common example are the male initiation rites in which the body is cut in a way that results in scars symbolizing crocodile teeth. The ritual is a learning process involving a complex history of the crocodile’s power and authority, but also incorporating ideas about gender. By performing the ritual, men gain an intimate connection to the abilities and skills of the crocodile. In some places, the initiation rite has been turned into a kind of tourist spectacle and adapted to the expectations of the tourists. However, the ritual retains its significance for many, and is a way of preserving historical ties to the original creator.
Papua New Guinea
Museum of Ethnography
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Museum of Ethnography
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