A cult house gable out of storage.

This gable front of a ceremonial house  of the Abelam in Papua New Guinea is part of the collection of the Weltkulturen Museum since 1961 and is probably a commissioned piece. Yet, it has never been shown in one of our exhibitions as the ceilings are too low for large objects such as the gable. In preparation of the upcoming exhibition “Green Sky, Blue Grass. Colour Coding Worlds”,  it was taken out of storage, restored and then erected outdoors so that it could be photographed. How we represent the gable in the exhibition will be our secret for a little bit longer.

But we can tell more about the gable itself: The over six meter high gable painting of a ceremonial house is painted onto numerous sago palm sheaths sewn together. The colour itself is considered a powerful substance which establishes contact to the spirit world. The three face images in the bottom third represent the spirits of ancestors who – with their hypnotic looking eyes formed from concentric circles – establish eye contact with the living from the afterworld.

Learn more about the exhibition “Green Sky, Blue Grass. Colour Coding Worlds”: