Melanesian Artefacts:

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Gope Board (Era River): desc illus map ref
Gope Board (Era River)
An Era River gope board from the Papuan Gulf
has a circular head and conventional decorative designs carved in background relief on an oval board with pointed ends and convexity. The disc eyes are linked to an open crescent mouth by an extended brow curves which merge to form a straight nose before surrounding the mouth. The head is also surrounded by the infrequently seen hair and beard stubble; painted surface on the front of board and an old weathered matt patina on the back. Material: wood, white and ochre pigments; height: 1360mm; width: 300mm; thickness: 30mm.
Time and place of collection from the field is not known. Acquired by LukLuk Gallery in 1990.
This class of ancestral board is a protective being having an individual name and is owned by an individual. They stand on the floor of the Era River men's houses and are profuse in number and variety in design in the Era River culture. The old matt patina at the back of the board indicates it has been made from an old canoe.
See 'Newton, D. 1961' - p.19 for an outline of the Era River culture along with the its neighbours Wapo Creek and Urama Island.
See 'Newton, D. 1961' - p.76 for similar examples of gope boards and p.66 for illustration of boards using similar design elements.
Artefact Code: ML0093

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Era River Gope Board (Papuan Gulf) Era River Gope Board (Papuan Gulf)

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New Guinea showing the region of the people of the islands in the estuary of the Era River in the Papuan Gulf

Map 1: New Guinea and the region of the Kerewa-speaking people of islands in the estuary of the Era River, Papuan Gulf, Papua New Guinea

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Newton, D. 1961
Newton, Douglas. ART STYLES OF THE PAPUAN GULF. The Museum of Primitive Art. BNo.: n/a. First Edition, 1961. Pp: 100; 285mm 220mm; 0.76kg. 265 b/w & fig, 2 maps. Acknowledgments, introduction, references, catalogue of exhibition. A very good copy in dust wrapper. The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1961. (The numerous cultures of the Papuan Gulf originated many different styles, all notable for their demonic vitality allied to intense sophistication of design. In this book the author describes the elaborate ritual life which has been the background of most of the art, and analyses the peoples' approach to both) (Keywords: Ethnology, cultural anthropology, Pacific, Melanesia, New Guinea, Kerewa, Moguru, Bamu, kauvai, Gogodara, Gogodala).

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