F-11 Fertility Figure ”Mindja”


F-11 Fertility Figure ”Mindja”

Washkuk Hills, Upper Sepik River.

Collected by Ed Boylan in 1972 on one of his earliest trips into the Washkuk Hills. This remained as part of his private collection and for many years hung in his Cairns home. This is an old figure, probably 1940s-1950s byt could be older, as it shows many layers of re-painting. It was certainly used over many generations. There is some dry rot at the base (from standing on damp earth) but it is quite stable. This is a typical Mindja in size and basic form, with a wide face, predominantly red, and with the classic cut-out eyes and smiling mouth. However it is quite extarordinary in its lower half, where there are many small faces (ancestral or spirit), rather than the usual zig-zag abstract design. Mindja figures were central the second harvest ceremony, called Mindja, where they represent male spirits, generally related to water spirits. This ceremony took place after the yam harvest, and was necessary to ensure abundance the following year. Essentially Mindja are fertility figures, to ensure the balance of nature.

Price on application

148 x 36 x 12 cm

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