Flute stopper: male figure
- Sawos people
- 20th century
In many areas of the Sepik River region, pairs of flutes are considered sacred, for their sounds represent the voices of supernatural beings. Made of bamboo, these ceremonial musical instruments often exceed six feet in length. The upper end of each flute is closed by a carved wood stopper that usually depicts a human figure, animal, or bird. This male figure probably represents an ancestor, and the birds atop his head a totem of the clan that owned this and the flute.
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Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Met
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