Bis Pole
On View In:
Gallery 256
Artist:   Unknown  
Title:   Bis Pole  
Date:   20th century  
Medium:   Wood, pigment  
Dimensions:   174 x 12 x 45 in. (442 x 30.5 x 114.3cm)  
Credit Line:   The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund  
Location:   Gallery 256  

This is a ritual bis pole created to honor a recently deceased, important member of society. The family commissions an artist to carve a pole out of a single piece of wild nutmeg tree, representing clan members who have passed on. Its shape evokes a canoe, the main mode of transportation for the living and the dead, and a vehicle to take the spirit to the next world. The pole is displayed at a great community ceremony and a mock battle is staged around its base to appease any restless spirits. Then it is ritually disposed of, its purpose complete.

Name:   Unknown  

Object Description  
Classification:   Sculpture  
Physical Description:   bis pole, mangrove wood, New Guinea, Asmat  
Creation Place:   Oceania, Papua, , ,  
Accession #:   74.79.1  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts