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23 October

The Lady of the River

Crochet Iatmul, Sawos du Moyen Sepik © musée du quai Branly, photo Claude Germain. - Click to enlarge, open in a new window
Iatmul hook, middle Sepik Sawos © musée du quai Branly, photograph Claude Germain.

 

from Tuesday 5 June to Sunday 7 October 2012

  • Atelier Martine Aublet, central mezzanine 
  • Collections ticket

 

 

About the installation

The inaugural installation of the Atelier Martine AubletLa Dame du Fleuve (the Lady of the River) presents 26 works from the museum's collections, centred around a recently acquired female hook figure, evoking both the place of women in middle Sepik societies and their relationships with the world of men and of the Ancestors.

While women play an important role in the Iatmul society of New Guinea, they possess little wealth. Two types of personal ornament specific to them mark their social position: skirts, objects of seduction, and the bridal head-dresses covered with shells. It is the women who educate and protect the children, they who feed the community. The centre of family homes is the hearth, where they prepare and preserve food in bowls and jars. They are also in charge of fishing, using fish traps which are considered as the location par excellence of fertility and multiplication.

These women's objects are presented alongside a series of hooks, used both in the family homes – to hang baskets of food – and in the ceremonial houses. While women have no place in these houses, which are the expression of the power of men, they are at the heart of the mythological tales, as is indicated by the hook acquired by the museum in 2011: the image of a triumphant woman and a primordial ancestor that gives birth to two mythological children; a crocodile and a catfish.

Discover the Lady of the River promenade à la carte, which presents a selection of works.

 

 

 

Crochet Iatmul, Sawos du Moyen Sepik © musée du quai Branly, photo Claude Germain. - Click to enlarge, open in a new window
Iatmul hook, middle Sepik Sawos © musée du quai Branly, photograph Claude Germain.
Coiffe féminine cérémonielle © musée du quai Branly, photo Claude Germain. - Click to enlarge, open in a new window
Ceremonial female headdress © musée du quai Branly, photograph Claude Germain.
Récipient à sagou © musée du quai Branly, photo Claude Germain. - Click to enlarge, open in a new window
Sago container © musée du quai Branly, photograph Claude Germain.

Pictures of the installation