Slit gong "garamut"
Papua New Guinea, Yuat River, Biwat
|Provenance||Size||Starting price / estimated price|
|Philippe Dodier, Avranches, France||L: 44.9 inch/57.9 inch (total length), H: 13 inch||2500 EUR / 5000 EUR|
heavy wood, greyish brown patina, hollowed log with narrow slit-like aperture, corpus strengthened on the inside within beating area, incised curvilinear ornaments on both sides, zigzag-decor along the slit, handle in shape of snout-like projection (crocodile), carved with two ancestor spirit heads, two more carved into the corpus on the other end (= sacred clan emblems), minor missing parts, cracks, traces of usage (above all in the middle of the corpus - from wooden beaters), traces of weathering. Slit gongs are used in a variety of ritual festivals/occasions and are used in everyday life as a means of distant communication, such as to convene meetings or announce a death. There are also sacred slit gongs, which were reserved for the powerful "waken" ancestors. They stood in the men's houses and were beaten in pairs when they summoned the ancestors to a feast. Like most ritual objects they have names and represent male and female ancestors. For festive occasions, they were decorated with palm leaves and rubbed with red colour. According to oral tradition it is said that they were smeared with people's blood. Their far-ranging sound is considered to be the voice of the ancestral spirits, their rhythm is said to reflect the ancestral steps.