Authentic Iatmul Suspension Hook Figure known as a 'Samban'. Originated from Middle Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. Early 20th Century. Suspended from the rafters by a cord, suspension hooks are used to safeguard food, clothing, and other items, which are placed in baskets or string bags and hung from the hook-shaped prongs at the base to keep them out of reach of vermin. Objects such as weapons, musical instruments and ancestral human skulls or victims of headhunting were also hung on samban in the past.Most hooks represented ancestral spirits and totemic animals associated with the owner’s clan. Household suspension hooks were also used to contact spirits.some suspension hooks, especially those representing waken, the most powerful Iatmul supernatural beings, served as sacred images through which the supernatural beings they depicted could be consulted. Before embarking on a raid or hunting expedition, men gathered within the ceremonial house to consult the waken through the hook bearing its image. Offerings of chickens, betel nut, or other items were hung from the hook and then consumed by a human “attendant,” who went into a trance during which the waken spoke through him, providing advice. Primarily functional, household suspension hooks were also used to contact spirits about more minor matters.
Provenance wise, this piece was previously owned by known art collector Ulrich Kortman and was displayed in “Galerie Delta” Rotterdam as part of the modern art show “The heritage of a passionate collector” in March 2018.
Carved into a hard wood with white paint and shells in the eyes.