Asmat Art by Dirk A. M. Smidt
Woodcarvings of Southwest New Guinea

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Synopsis

This book presents a full range of Asmat woodcarving art, but emphasizes the rare early shields and figure sculptures in the collection of the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden. Drums, canoe
prowheads and the larger, more dramatic "objects" are also shown. * Together with bisj poles, war shields are perhaps the most famous creation of Asmat artists, and these were carved throughout the region. It is in the design and construction of the shields that the variations in style region can most clearly be seen. Figure sculptures, of varying styles, are also well represented here, and a limited number of the huge ceremonial carvings, such as bisj poles and basu suangkus, have also been included. The cultural context in which these items play their part is described in detail in the introductory chapters. But it is not the intention of this book to be an ethnography. The focus is on the art pieces themselves.
 

About Dirk A. M. Smidt

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Published November 13, 2012 by Periplus Editions. 160 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical, Travel. Non-fiction

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The elaborate woodcarvings of the Asmat, who inhabit western New Guinea's coastal swamps, make the spirit world tangible. Head-hunting--practiced until the early 1960s--and ancestor worship figure pro

Mar 29 1993 | Read Full Review of Asmat Art: Woodcarvings of So...

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