Malu Board by Kaua GitaMalu Board by Kaua Gita
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Malu Board

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The openwork malu boards of the Sawos people of Papua New Guinea illustrate the curvilinear style that characterizes the carving of the Middle Sepik River. Created by the Sawos, malu are traded to the neighboring Iatmul people who use them in the context of the initiation ceremonies that mark the passage of boys to manhood. If a boy should die during the initiation process, the malu are displayed to the village women to indicate that a death has occurred. The complex imagery of this carving incorporates bird, mammal, and insect forms, many of which represent totemic species. Hornbills, important totemic birds, are incorporated into the openwork carving. The pig, an animal of great social and ritual significance throughout New Guinea, appears also.

Artwork Information

Location Papua New Guinea
Region Papua New Guinea
Artist Kaua Gita
NWC Nation N/A
Date Created 2012
Dimensions No
Materials & Edition wood, natural pigments

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