Art/ Collection/ Art Object

House-post Figure

19th century
Papua New Guinea, Lower Sepik, Keram River
Kambot people
Wood, paint, fiber
H. 96 in (243.8 cm)
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1969
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 354
The Kambot people live along the banks of the Keram River, a tributary of the lower Sepik River in New Guinea. This figure was not originally an independent sculpture but probably formed part of a housepost supporting the roof of a ceremonial house. The image represents either Mobul or Goyen, two mythical brothers who are associated with the creation of plants and animals. The brothers' spirits were believed to reside within the houseposts at certain times. This figure is probably the largest surviving example of Kambot wood sculpture. The head is a double image in which the eyes and nose of the central face also form the arms and flute of a second, smaller figure.
#1183: Kids: House-post Figure, Part 1
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#1184: Kids: House-post Figure, Part 2
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For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
L. R. Webb, Oakland, Calif., until 1963; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1963, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1963–1969; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1969–1978

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 153.

Kjellgren, Eric. Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007, 52, 92-3.

Kjellgren, Eric. How to Read Oceanic Art. How to Read 3. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014, pp. 40–42.

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