Carved Female Figure [Object of the Day #94]

Female Figure

Female Figure

This carving of a woman holding a bowl over her head is one of a handful of such figures collected in the late 19th century in the Solomon Islands.  Except for the common subject, no two are alike. This one is painted black, and incised designs on the figure and bowl are highlighted with contrasting white lime. The face is concave, with projecting mouth and chin, and the eyes are inlaid with shell.  The ear lobes are stretched for ear plugs.  The designs on the face, body, and upper arms are probably intended to suggest traditional ritual scarification and tattoo patterns.

Penn Museum Object #18221

See this and other objects like it on Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database

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