Themes: Food / Carving

Suspension hook

Description:
This hook is in the form of a standing female figure with hands (fingers delineated) on hips. Only the head and hook are carved decoratively. The head is an elongated diamond cut off at the base to form a square chin. It is decorated on the cheeks and hair with an incised chevron pattern. The eyes are outlined but there are no irises, nor are there signs that shells were ever used. The mouth shows uniformly square teeth; the nose is flattened and under-carved at the tip. Traces of a dark wood finish are apparent in several places but evidence of red-brown pigment is seen only on the hook.

Context:
Suspension hooks are usually used to hang food and other precious items away from the ground. They are suspended from roof beams, and hung with bags called 'billums.' In the Middle Sepik they are often carved with ancestor figures.