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Figure 1: Haus Tambaran gable mask for the front gable. Carved by Theo Abel. He is recognized as a powerful Master carver in the village and his house stands off by itself. He has the right to take another carver to court if they carve this mask. (Personal communication, Robin Leahy, Melanesian Arts Centre, Lae, PNG, 1998)
Kambaramba Village is built entirely on stilts over an oxbow segment of the Sepik near Angoram. It is often a stop for the tour boats because of its photogenic qualities. The village has always been one of the poorest on the river and was built on stilts because the people were not powerful enough to claim any dry land for their own. The women of the village often worked as local prostitutes to help support their families. Many families from Kambaramba were given blocks of land and rubber trees in the Gavien Resettlement Project during the Australian administration to help alleviate these conditions.
Kambarambas are not known for their carvings, but like most Sepiks, they decorate their canoe prows with crocodile heads and make low tables and stools for their houses. Since some of our crew comes from Kambaramba, we usually go out to Gavien to buy from their camp. Over the years, I've collected some lovely and also some weird pieces. One I wish I had kept was a human figure with a crocodile head carved from a forked branch in a pose that resembled a ballerina in a grass skirt doing a plié.
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More articles/photos of NEW GUINEA MASKS:
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Artifacts on this site are collected in the field by my husband, Ron Perry. I take the photographs, do the html, text and maps. More background in Who We Are. Art-Pacific has been on the WWW since 1996. We hope you enjoy our New Guinea tribal art and Indonesian folk art as much as we do. Carolyn Leigh, P.O. Box 85284, Tucson, AZ 85754-5284 USA, Art-Pacific at http://www.art-pacific.com/