This Suspension Hook was created by an artist of the Iatmul culture of the Sepik River region in Papa New Guinea. Suspension hooks are used by many different cultures of the Sepik River region, primarily to keep baskets of food suspended above the ground and away from moisture, insects, and rodents. In addition, the hooks may also be used to suspend anything that needs to be elevated, such as baskets, tools, or even for hanging clothes to dry.
Suspension hooks are usually carved out of wood, as is this sculpture, but some of the finest examples may also be made from ivory. Each suspension hook is unique, but most are carved to represent an ancestor or animal spirit specific to the artist’s culture. This particular suspension hook is most likely designed to honor an ancestor, since it depicts a humanoid figure.
For more information, you may contact the researcher(s) noted in the title of this exhibit entry, or Dr. Billie Follensbee, the professor of the course, at BillieFollensbee@MissouriState.edu