This beautifully made 1970s model canoe is extremely accurate and detailed. The prow ornament or Piu, always carved as a separate piece and tied between the gunwales, has the traditional Friarbird at its tip because the people of Walomo believe this bird is a messenger from the spirits. Below the bird’s head a series of large and dangerous fishes are always carved , including dolphins and various types of sharks. The sides are traditionally carved and painted in the pattern called Musini (long tom fish). The outrigger platform also has its terminals decorated with carvings, used as rests for fishing spears and rods. Please note that the binding securing the birds head and two of the woven decorative bindings are missing (one each fore and aft). Length 46 cm/ 21 inches, width (across outrigger platform) 29 cm/ 15 ˝ inches.
Reference: The famous canoe carvings of Walamo are detailed in Hermoine Frankel’s excellent monograph “Canoes of Walamo” , Institute Of Papua New Guinea Studies, 1978. They are also described in Haddon & Hornell, Canoes of Oceania, pp 308 -9, Bishop Museum, 1936. There is a continium of this canoe style (with variations) across the nearby border of West Papua to the shores of Humboldt Bay.