Karahut figure, Abelam Culture, Papua New Guinea
fiber, boars tusk, shell and pigment
early/mid 20th century
ex Marc Assayag African & Oceanic Art
These "karahuts" are woven from hibiscus bark twine and sennit fibre, decorated with boar's tusks, small Nasa
shells with applied ochre and charcoal paints. Karahuts are used in a number of ceremonies, during dancing they
are held between the teeth using a string coming out from the back about the level of the eyes. When not being
used they are hung around the neck and lie in the middle of the man's back or worn around the neck as a pectoral
adornment at sing sing's. They are commonly known among the Abelam as a Kara-ut and in a differing form as
Andakara by the Wosera people.
"The figure looks as if it has horns - this is a misconception. Wild pigs are very aggressive and the wearer of the
kara-ut believes that when the 'horns' are spouting from his mouth he can adopt its power when fighting.
The woven figure depicted an enemy who dangles helplessly impaled on the pigs / fighters tusks.
The name of this art form, Kara means 'Pig or Boar' and Ut means 'net bag' has a significant spiritual context.
Contained within the body of the figure is a bundle of magical leaves & herbs that aid the wearer." This one has an
especially nice presence, and the tusks used are old and fragile. An extremely nice examples of these wonderful
*The stand shown in the photos is for display purposes only in order to take the photos. It was not made for the
figure. I have had this figure hanging on the wall using a small section of looped fiber that isn't very visible in the
photo. If you are interested in a mount I can get in touch with my mount maker for pricing.