With its elliptical form, spirit or gope boards from Papua New Guinea are symbols of a warrior's acts of bravery. Many were made from a conquered enemy's canoe and the skull of the enemy was displayed on the finial of some boards such as this unique one. Gope boards held particular significance as they were thought to transfer the previous owner's strength to the victor. Gopes also served several other functions including being the medium through which the elders received instructions from the spirits such as when to go to war, plant the gardens, go on a trading expedition etc. The spirit's face was usually painted on the front of the board using black from charcoal, red from clay or white from clay or powdered lime color.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA GOPE
Size: 62.5" L x 10.75" W x .75 inches D
Color: Brown with white markings
Place of Origin: Papua New Guinea
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