Image: Canoe prow, Papua New Guinea E62281

Canoe prow, Papua New Guinea E62281

Provenance: Kanganenam village, Ambunti sub-province, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Pacific

This wooden canoe prow is carved to look like the head of a crocodile, the most common creature featured on a prow in the region. It is supposed to protect the canoe by fooling real crocodiles into thinking it is one of their own. It was collected in 1964 by Dr Doug Miles and Mr M Cameron during the Australian Museum's Sepik River Expedition.

Description: sawn-off, shallow canoe prow; triangular shaped, carved crocodile head; inlaid with round shell discs attached with metal nails; small, carved hornbill on top of snout; black paint on most of its head, some red around its eyes, some white on top of snout; remainder of canoe natural colour, light brown, wood; small carved design along top of sides of canoe; one bird wing missing.


Emma Furno
© Australian Museum

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