The Asmat are a cannibalistic people that reside in the Papua province of New Guinea. They are well known for their Ancestor Skulls, also called "Ndambirkus." These skulls came from their deceased ancestors, and were decorated as a way to venerate them and show respect. Once de-fleshed, the eye sockets and nasal passages were filled with tree sap and bees wax, then adorned with abrus seeds. This was to prevent evil spirits from entering the skull. A braid of rattan lashings was run through the nose, and secured to the mandible. The headdress was made using job's-tears seeds, which were strung together with a woven fiber. Once finished, these ancestor skulls were worn like a necklace during the day, and used as a pillow at night (example shown in the last two photos). This is why the skull is so smooth, due to the constant friction and rubbing. This piece was collected by an anthropologist working in Atsj village, on the Casuarina coast, in the mid-1900's. This extraordinary tribal specimen would be an impressive centerpiece to any collection. It comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and full provenance. This is a rare opportunity to own an important piece of tribal history.
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