Timbuwarra

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The timbuwarra, or timbuwara (tentatively translated as "spirit of the flesh which guards the doors" [1] ), is a type of ritual figure produced by the Wiru people of the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. Timbuwarra figures are generally made of rattan and painted, and may serve several functions, although they are generally held to be associated with fertility rites and with the spirit world. [2] Few are known to exist, and their purpose is generally poorly understood. [1]

The Wiru are a people of the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. They speak the Wiru language. Among their rituals is the production of timbuwarra out of rattan.

Southern Highlands Province Place in Papua New Guinea

Southern Highlands is a province in Papua New Guinea. Its provincial capital is the town of Mendi. According to Papua New Guinea's national 2011 census, the total population of Southern Highlands is 515,511 spread across 15,089 square kilometers (5,826 sq mi). Before the split there were two major ethnic groups, the Huli Speakers and the Angal Speakers or Angal Heneng. Today the Majority of the Population in Southern Highlands is made up of Angal Speakers or Angal Heneng Speaks. They occupy three provinces Southern Highlands, Hela (Magarima) and Enga

Papua New Guinea constitutional monarchy in Oceania

Papua New Guinea, officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is an Oceanian country that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby. The western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Timbuwarra are flat, woven, and anthropomorphic. [2] Usually they are made of rattan and painted with ochre pigments in earth tones; [3] [4] they may also be further decorated with cassowary feathers and beads. [4] They may sometimes also take the form of animals. [5] The figures are created by elders during times of disaster, such as disease, earthquake, or famine. [5] The uses of the timbuwarra are varied; they are most often seen as guardian figures outside of ceremonial houses, which are constructed at some distance from the village. [2] [3] [4] They would sometimes be used in mourning rituals, [3] and have been described as representations of dead women to which respects may be paid by friends and relatives; the status of the women and their manner of death is not known. [1] [2] Sometimes, timbuwarra would also be used during male initiation rites to teach boys about sexual behavior. One collector has recorded:

Ochre painting material and color

Ochre or ocher is a natural clay earth pigment which is a mixture of ferric oxide and varying amounts of clay and sand. It ranges in colour from yellow to deep orange or brown. It is also the name of the colours produced by this pigment, especially a light brownish-yellow. A variant of ochre containing a large amount of hematite, or dehydrated iron oxide, has a reddish tint known as "red ochre".

Cassowary genus of birds

Cassowaries , genus Casuarius, are ratites that are native to the tropical forests of New Guinea, East Nusa Tenggara, the Maluku Islands, and northeastern Australia.

Bead small decorative object with drilled hole

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One of these that I had had two holes down in the abdomen area – one above the other. I was told that this was used to teach the young men which hole to aim for during sex to avoid pregnancy. [6]

They were also sometimes carried or worn by village men during fertility rites; [5] when worn, they were often attached to a ceremonial wig in a fashion known locally as "female pinned by a penis to the wig". [2]

Once timbuwarra have outlived their purpose, they are buried to refertilize the earth from which they were formed. [5] A small number, however, have found their way into Western collections in more recent years; an example exists in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, while others are held privately. [2] [3] The practice of making them died out with the coming of Catholic missionaries in the 1950s, and few are made today. [7]

Art Gallery of New South Wales public gallery in Sydney

The Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), located in The Domain in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, is the most important public gallery in Sydney and one of the largest in Australia. The Gallery's first public exhibition opened in 1874. Admission is free to the general exhibition space, which displays Australian art, European and Asian art. A dedicated Asian Gallery was opened in 2003.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Figure en vannerie at the Collection Barbier-Mueller
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Timbuwarra at about NSW
  3. 1 2 3 4 Timbuwarra at the Tomkins Collection
  4. 1 2 3 Timbuwarra Figures
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Phantom Shields" from Artnet
  6. Michael Hamson, quoted at the Tomkins Collection website
  7. San Saeng No.20 Autumn/Winter 2007 Leaving Together Helping Each Other ISSN   1599-4880