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Coaxing the Spirits to Dance

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Coaxing the Spirits to Dance

Art and Society in the Papuan Gulf of New Guinea


Paperback / softback

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Coaxing the Spirits to Dance by Virginia Webb
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"Coaxing the Spirits to Dance" explores the relationship between social life and artistic expression since the nineteenth century in one of the most important art-producing regions of Papua New Guinea. It includes a stunning presentation of hand-carved and hand-painted ancestor boards, masks, drums, skull racks, and personal items. Each society on the Papuan Gulf had its own elaborate traditions of carved, painted, or decorated masks, boards, and hand drums that filled the men's longhouses for use in dances and performances. Today these art objects offer a glimpse into the varied cosmologies and ritual lives of these surprisingly diverse societies before they were changed significantly through their contact with the West.
Release date NZ
April 24th, 2006
Country of Publication
United States
153 colour illustrations
University of Washington Press
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