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Ritualistic and ancestral board in engraved wood known as “Gope”. Dark brown wood slightly domed with encrusted patina. Narrow oblong shape, decorated in relief with geometric motifs. Excellent state of preservation. This piece is fixed on a base. Papua New Guinea occupies the Eastern half of the island of New Guinea. This group of 600 islands is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire. This society is perhaps one of the most traditional of the world: it is split into multiple clan groups. This plank was placed in homes to ward off evil spirits. Spirit boards are not passive memorials, but are suggested to contain ancestral guardian spirits. Each board is given a personal name, and it is believed to afford protection to the owners. Smaller versions of the spirit boards are owned by individuals, while larger boards, such as the boards in this exhibit, would be the property of a clan. The boards may be as much as three meters tall; they are hung inside or propped up along the walls of the ceremonial men’s house. Head-hunting and cannibalism are no longer practised among these cultures, but in the past, the spirit boards were displayed alongside enemy’s skulls, the skulls of pigs, and the skulls of the community’s ancestors. Excellent state of preservation. Smal scratches due to use and age. No visible repair