Skull, Fly River
Upper Fly River, Gulf of Papua, Papua-New-Guinea, 19th century
Human skull, fiber, rattan
Height : 16,2 cm
Provenance : Arte y Ritual, Madrid
Publication : "Golgotha"
(M. Doustar, 2014), n°24
Under the pressure of the Australian administration and the local missionaries in the course of the 20th century, the natives of the Gulf Province abandonned progressively their ancient practices and beliefs, and got rid of the cultural material related to head-hunting, firstly the trophy heads.
This impressive skull was probably collected at the turn of the 20th century, well before the ban on head-hunting and the spread of Christianity. It has a smoky patina due to its long stay in the Men’s House, and has kept its bindings intact. Similar skulls can be seen in the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford.