Lake Sentani Headrest
A very rare form of headrest called ponche, though also reported as jumache or walaghau by Hoogerbrugge in 1967, and decorated at either end with the elongated heads of stylized crocodiles. This type of imposing pillow was used exclusively by the ondoforo, the chief. The extreme length of the neck-bar is probably due to the unusually large hair-do’s worn by these important men. Their frizzy hair is picked out and teased into an enormous ball. The bent cane supports, instead of being strapped together like those of the Sepik River, are pierced through at their extremities and bound together with finely braided fiber (one braid is reinforced with a leather strap, the other is reinforced with cotton thread). Lake Sentani, Irian Jaya, Indonesian New Guinea, Melanesia. Wood, rattan, and fiber. 94 x 20 x 21 x 19.2 cm. 19/20th century.
Provenance Ex coll. : Philippe Bourgoin, Paris.
Literature: Illustrated : OCEANIC HEADRESTS / APPUIE-NUQUE OCEANIENS. Exhibition cataloge, Gal. Meyer, 2004, N ° 5.