KORWAR AMULET CHARM
Origin: Irian Jaya, Indonesia, Cenderawasih Bay (Provenance: Ex. Irwin Hersey collection, New York. Author of the book "Indonesian Primitive Art" )
Period/Date: Late 19th-early 20th century
Description: This is not one of these skinny charms which often lack presence. No, this example has a thick robust shaft with ritual shavings that were taken at the bottom. The shafts of these charms were wrapped in cloth and often have a dryer patina like this one. The ancestor figure has an elongated face and fluid curving arms coming to rest on the chin. It is also deeply carved with curvilinear decoration encompassing the body. It has acquired a rich varied patina turning to red from years of use and handling.
These amulets had many functions which included providing men courage when attacking as well as protection against disaster, and against evil spirits. The amulet was also thought to bring about a favorable wind which was especially important on canoe journeys.
Dimensions: Height 8" (20.5 cm), Width 1 5/8" (4 cm)