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When first encountering these spectral Oceanic figures, I was overwhelmed with their exquisitely stylized, but graphically powerful expressions of secret rituals and ceremonial invocations to their spirit protectors.

New Guinea tribesmen called upon these spirits through images carved into their spirit boards. Each figure in this gallery replicates the stylistic characteristics common to them. Note the mirror imaging on both sides of a central axis. Each piece also has an access point, or navel, for spirits to enter. Once entering, the spirits can dance with their hosts and ensure a desired outcome. The full figures have one knee higher than the other to indicate that indeed the spirit is dancing.


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