Themes: Food / Carving

Suspension hook

Description:
This suspension hook has a Janus-headed top with facial features extended down to form two shanks that join at the hook. A face is carved at the centre of the hook at the front. The back of the hook is plain. There are traces of red-brown pigment.

Context:
This could be an unusually old object in the Paget collection. 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 Sepik basin they are often carved with ancestor figures. It has been suggested that this particular representation depicts the legendary spirit, Waken.