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Art as contact with ancestors: visual arts of the kamoro and asmat of western Papua

Author
Organization
Abstract
Questions about meanings of non-western art keep intriguing western artobservers. There are no ready-made and unambiguous answers to be given – every interpretation is a partial one. For the artist himself interpretation is not always an issue, he follows the traditions of his ancestors. In some cases meanings belong to culturally concealed knowledge, not to be shared with outsiders. Yet sometimes a bit of this knowledge is disclosed. Adriaan Gerbrands (1967), drawing on the work of Ref. Gerard Zegwaard, a profound scholar of Asmat culture, and on his own extensive fieldwork, discovered that many Asmat designs can be interpreted as symbols of headhunting ideology. Gerbrands focuses on what he calls the ‘headhunting-nexus’; a nexus of related forms which can all be connected to headhunting practices and their meaning in the given cultural context. In fact many more interpretations are possible...
Keywords
ritual, mythology, museum collection, Tropenmuseum, Oceania, New Guinea, West Papua, Asmat, comparative study, Kamoro, symbolism, woodcarving, non-western art, ancestors, headhunting

Citation

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Chicago
van der Zee, Paulina. 2009. Art as Contact with Ancestors: Visual Arts of the Kamoro and Asmat of Western Papua. Bulletins of the Royal Tropical Institute. Vol. 389. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: KIT.
APA
van der Zee, Paulina. (2009). Art as contact with ancestors: visual arts of the kamoro and asmat of western Papua. BULLETINS OF THE ROYAL TROPICAL INSTITUTE (Vol. 389). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: KIT.
Vancouver
1.
van der Zee P. Art as contact with ancestors: visual arts of the kamoro and asmat of western Papua. BULLETINS OF THE ROYAL TROPICAL INSTITUTE. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: KIT; 2009.
MLA
van der Zee, Paulina. Art as Contact with Ancestors: Visual Arts of the Kamoro and Asmat of Western Papua. Vol. 389. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: KIT, 2009. Print.
@book{1108934,
  abstract     = {Questions about meanings of non-western art keep intriguing western artobservers. There are no ready-made and unambiguous answers to be given -- every interpretation is a partial one. For the artist himself interpretation is not always an issue, he follows the traditions of his ancestors. In some cases meanings belong to culturally concealed knowledge, not to be shared with outsiders. Yet sometimes a bit of this knowledge is disclosed. Adriaan Gerbrands (1967), drawing on the work of Ref. Gerard Zegwaard, a profound scholar of Asmat culture, and on his own extensive fieldwork, discovered that many Asmat designs can be interpreted as symbols of headhunting ideology. Gerbrands focuses on what he calls the {\textquoteleft}headhunting-nexus{\textquoteright}; a nexus of related forms which can all be connected to headhunting practices and their meaning in the given cultural context. In fact many more interpretations are possible...},
  author       = {van der Zee, Paulina},
  isbn         = {9789068326444},
  keyword      = {ritual,mythology,museum collection,Tropenmuseum,Oceania,New Guinea,West Papua,Asmat,comparative study,Kamoro,symbolism,woodcarving,non-western art,ancestors,headhunting},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {112},
  publisher    = {KIT},
  series       = {BULLETINS OF THE ROYAL TROPICAL INSTITUTE},
  title        = {Art as contact with ancestors: visual arts of the kamoro and asmat of western Papua},
  volume       = {389},
  year         = {2009},
}