Medium: Wood (Aerial root) Aged patina
Dimensions: Dia. 14.5"
Origin: Arapesh People, Prince Alexander Mountains
Provenance: Ex. Linda Ridgeway Cunningham Collection 1975
Exhibited: Pelham von Stoffler Gallery Houston 1978, Private Museum Xiamen, China 2011
The Arapesh carved platter from wood of the heavy aerial roots, ranging in form from a rough oval to a flat platter, invariably decorated in the center of the outer surface with a design in low relief, and along the rim with a lightly incised border design. The bowls are painted black and given a rough polish, and are used for serving food. They also have a ceremonial function: when two clans are involved in a trade relationship and one becomes unhappy with the other, the aggrieved clan sends a bowl with a leaf in it to the other clan. The second clan, to show it's good intentions, returns the bowl with a white shell armband. This platter has a typical design on the bottom center, a circle within a circle, which could represent the sun and moon and a four-pointed star, at opposites ends of two of the star points are two looping eyes and ridges of a crocodile. (Text reference: Mead 1970) This platter was stone carved in the late 19th to early 20th century.