Suspension hook

Iatmul peoples
20th century
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General Description

Iatmul suspension hooks were suspended from the rafters of traditional houses with a cord, and baskets containing food, clothing, and other items were hung from the hooks out of reach of vermin. Ritually, household hooks were used in divination ceremonies to consult spirits about minor concerns. Most Iatmul suspension hooks are representations of ancestral spirits and totemic animals associated with the owner’s clan. They were named and presented with offerings of food. This suspension hook, depicting the upper portion of a torso, with the head surmounted by a hairstyle in the form of a cap and the prongs of the hook emerging from the tops of the shoulders, likely represents a primordial ancestor.

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