Earthenware pot (Noranggau)

Production date
Pre 1990
Papua New Guinea
East Sepik
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Object detail

Fired earthenware pot, with moulded human facial design on body. "Aibom" style.
CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander pottery
Production date
Pre 1990
Production place
H 205 x Dia 130 mm
History and use
Only the Iatmul people of the Aibom village have access to the clay needed to create Aibom style pottery. Traditionally, women collect the clay from pits at the bottom of Aibom Mountain, and then the men of the village shape and paint the pots. Today, women also shape and paint the pottery.

This type of pot is a sago jar, called Noranggau; it is the smaller of two types of sago jars, the larger called Damarau. Noranggau are used as both cooking vessels, and storage jars to hold freshly made sago before it is cooked. This Noranggau depicts several faces on the body of the object, in basic forms, using the physical attributes of the pottery – such as the handles on the sides – as facial features like the ears or nose.

Aibom pottery is still made today, and is often traded between villages in exchange for dried fish, sago flour and betel nut from different areas along the Sepik River.

This object was collected by donor Peter Watt in 1990 and donated to the Museum of Tropical Queensland in 2012.
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