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Seated Female Figure

Commemorative figures such as this distinctive carving typically honor important ancestors and were commissioned from a master woodcarver, usually by a family member. This figure’s dramatic elbows-to-knees and hands-to-chin pose is frequently seen in Asmat art and has many references: it can represent the posture of birth and death, symbolize head-hunting practices, and connect to Asmat creation beliefs.

Asmat peoples, Papua, Indonesia
Seated Female Figure
Before 1913
Wood, pigment, seeds, fiber
H. 22 ½ in. (57.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.10