A wooden bowl from the Admiralty Islands

01 October 2020

In the South Seas, from Indonesia to Polynesia, we can see everywhere big wooden bowls. The simplest were used as household utensils, the largest and most ornate were used for various ceremonies, often for ritual meals. The Admiralty Islands, north-east of New Guinea, were inhabited by three distinct peoples. One of them, the Matankol, had artistic talents, which the other two recognized by buying various sculptures from him. This hardwood bowl, resting on four short circular legs, represents a mythological bird whose name differed from one community to another. Admiralty Archipelago, L. 48 cm.

Photo Studio Ferrazzini Bouchet. Musée Barbier-Mueller. Inv. 4402-C.

To learn more about this artefact, please download the article by Christian Kaufmann “Containers for Food and More: Bowls from the Admiralty Islands” published in Arts & Cultures 2013, pp. 194-215.