Item description for Bisj Poles: Sculptures From the Rain Forest by Pauline van der Zee...
* A richly illustrated essay on the exceptional sculptures from the Asmat people in Papua New Guinea * For all those interested in Oceanic art, or ethnographic art in general
Bisj poles are long, figuratively-carved tree trunks from the southwest of New Guinea. The poles serve as a memorial for the deceased and have been named for the ritual of which they form the centre, the bisj.
This ritual has to do with the cycle of life and death and---in former times---with head-hunting and actions of revenge. Through pacification and Christianization of the Asmat, these practices were banned and ethnologists feared that the associated rituals and woodcarving art would, as a result, disappear. The resulting collection is a celebration of this dying art form, gathering together photographs and text on both the ritual and the art form.
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Not everyone views a big slab of stone as a proper memorial to their departed loved ones Jun 8, 2008
Not everyone views a big slab of stone as a proper memorial to their departed loved ones. "Bisj-poles: Sculptures from the Rain Forest" a look at the death rituals of the Asmat, an aboriginal culture living in New Guinea, with a focus on their grave markers - beautiful wood carvings called 'Bisj-poles'. Also touching on the Asmat people as a whole and not just the art itself but what it all means, "Bisj-poles: Sculptures from the Rain Forest" is a highly recommended pick for both anthropology and photography shelves everywhere.