O-5 Flute Stopper

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O-5 Flute Stopper

Chambri Lakes, Middle Sepik River, PNG. Wood, fibre, pigment.

Ceremonial flutes in the Middle Sepik are the important sacred musical instruments of the region. They comprise a long bamboo shaft ( up to 250 cm ) with a single mouth hole. One end is open, the other is filled with an elaborate flute stopper, a slender carved figurative form, often incorporating animal forms also. Within the Middle Sepik, the flute players of Chambri Lake are considered among the best, as are their flute stoppers.
Flutes are played only by men, in secret inside the Spirit House, in pairs. Two flute players will stand adjacent to each other, often touching feet, and the melodious tones, rising and falling, follow each other giving the most beautiful effects. They are considered the voices of the spirits and, together with the large slit gongs ( garamuts) form the foundations of the incredible sacred music of the Middle Sepik.
The Chambri Lake flute stoppers are among the most elegant, often being a slender male figure. This figure is superbly carved, with fine scarification detail, and a face painted half red and half white. Together the music and stopper represent the structure of the society, its duality. Accompanying songs refer to mythical times and mythical protagonists. Within the melodious music,the structure of the ancestor world of Sepik culture is brought to life during each of the accompanying important ceremonies.

ex-collection Eric Coote, Mittagong.


74 x 7 x 7 cm

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