Seated figure

CULTURE:
Modang or Bahau people
DATE:
19th–early 20th century
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General Description

The upswept and spiraling hairstyle on this lithe seated figure is a metaphor for sexuality and, by extension, fertility. It was probably used in connection with headhunting rites, perhaps as the finial for a hook on which an enemy’s skull was hung. Headhunting, which ensured both agricultural and human fertility, was considered essential for cosmic order.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, 2013.