About the object
The pattern carved in high relief shows an abstracted human form, holding a staff sprouting with leaves on either side. This depiction probably refers to the myth of the emergence of the first humans from trees. It is a very old piece. Western interest in Asmat art was aroused chiefly by Michael Rockefeller's research and collections in the 1970s. Older pieces like this often came from Dutch expeditions at the beginning of the 20th century. The Asmat area was under Dutch colonial rule at that time.