Northern Solomon Islands Ceremonial Canoe Paddles
Canoe Paddles; Carved and Painted Wood.
Two paddles with flat, long, lentoid blades and central raised ridges, with long handles or flattened ovoid form. The shorter paddle is adorned with three relief squatting “Kokorra”, the powerful iconic spirits associated with the mens secret society. Two smaller “Kokorra” sit atop a larger figure, and the opposite side displays two small spirit heads. The larger paddle features the head of a “Kokorra” with a jagged layered beard and disc earrings, and above an intricate abstract form similar to the shell cutouts worn on pendants. The reverse is simply carved with a relied tapering ridge. These details are painted in red-brown and black. The appearance of these anthropomorphic spirits would have protected and ensured the success of the user. Slight loss to edges of the paddle blades, surface shows general weathering, minor hairline cracks, pigment loss. Custom mounts, but need further support. For a similar example see “Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. N.Y. Metropolitan Museum, a very similar pair is in exhibition in the Rockefeller Pavillion of Oceanic Art.
Mid 20th Cetury
Buka or northern Bougainville Island
6 × 6 × 65 in