Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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nggwalndu (male spirit figure)
  • unknown Abelam maker
  • nggwalndu (male spirit figure), 1850s–1969
  • Where object was made: Central Maprik Region, Papua New Guinea
  • wood, pigment, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 206 x 28 x 26 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 81 1/8 x 11 x 10 1/4 in
  • Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Franklin D. Murphy
  • Not on display
  • 1977.0030
Label Text

Very large, nearly life sized, human figure. The head is large, with a pointed headdress. There are two birds, identified as hornbills, perched above his head. Both have yellow bodies with a large black circle, outlined with red and light blue, on the sides and a black head. There is a third bird, identified as a parrot, above his head facing downward, with a black body and red circle and white head. There is a fourth bird between the figure's legs that is either dark blue or black, with a black circle and red outline on the body and a yellow head.

The figure's headdress is black with a red line and white line, and notched yellow edge. His forehead, possibly meant to be the front of the headdress, is a white grid on black. His face is yellow with a black "beard" covering the lower portion. The face as a whole is outlined and divided by a red line. His mouth is slightly open, and his tongue protrudes a bit. His arms are red with a feather-like decoration near the left shoulder. Large black circles, outlined with red, at each shoulder. He has armbands and bracelets indicated with carved bands. The torso is yellow with a red diamond in the center, outlined with decorative light blue bands. Legs were originally dark, though too much pigment is gone to identify color. Lateral thigh decorated with a black circle with a red and light blue outline and remnants of a flower-like design. External genitalia is visible.

Primarily red column is the figure's back, and the birds attach to this portion.