logo
  • Home

Unknown Artist

War Shield, possibly as early as ca. 1930

War Shield, possibly as early as ca. 1930

Wood with traces of pigment 78 in. x 18 in. x 1 in. (198.12 cm x 45.72 cm x 2.54 cm)

Crocker Art Museum, gift of Jane and John Fitz Gibbon

2009.134.2

  • Before the mid-20th century, head hunting was a defining element of a complex belief system in the Papuan Gulf region, and skull racks were among the most sacred objects belonging to a Papuan clan. A young male clan member could be considered an adult only after he had killed and taken a head. Once cleaned, such skulls were attached to a rack with a fiber loop. Each rack represented an important founding ancestor vital to the clan's well-being and was thus maintained in a ceremonial house. When an elder renewed the rack with fresh pigment, it was believed to restore both its power and the ancestors' favor.


Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.

Contact

Contact | Hours | Directions

216 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
916.808.7000
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Social

Tickets

Become a Member

Donate

216 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

General Information: 916.808.7000
Admission Desk: 916.808.1184

Hours

Tue – Sun: 10 AM – 5 PM
Thu: 10 AM – 9 PM
Closed Mondays*, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
*Open select Mondays
10 AM – 5 PM:
Presidents Day
Labor Day