Basket Hook, Lake Sentani, West Papua, Indonesia, Early 20th Century

Early 20th Century
64 x 16 cm

Basket Hooks, or food hooks, hang from the rafters in Melanesian houses. The hooks hung baskets to hold food, to keep it safe from rats and insects. The best are always carved by artists with the traditional designs of the tribe, Lake Sentani art is always semi-abstract, and is dominated by the motifs on this hook – wave-like forms that represent both water and wind. Specifically this motif is described as “ripples on the water when the wind blows”. Both wind and water are elementary forces of nature that connect to life forces in Lake Sentani beliefs and mythology. Wind is believed to blow life force into Nature – trees, animals and humans – and without these winds, life would cease.


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