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Male Figure (Mimia)

Although three-dimensional figures are common in many parts of New Guinea, they are rarer in the south, around the Gulf of Papua, where the Kiwai peoples are located. Called mimia, this type of figure was used in a ceremony of the same name, which either was related to or a part of rites called moguru, a multi-faceted annual ceremony to initiate boys and girls into adulthood and to promote the growth of the sago palm, a food staple, and the fertility of the community. Though figures of this type are unembellished, they were decorated with headdresses and ornaments when displayed.

Kiwai peoples, Papua New Guinea
Male Figure (Mimia)
Late 19th or early 20th century
Wood, pigment, human hair
H. 36 in. (91.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.5