The Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
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Oceania
New Georgia group, Solomon Islands
Canoe Prow Ornament, Musumusu or Nguzunguzu
Nineteenth century
Wood, pearl shell, pigment
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 96.8


Until the end of the nineteenth century, figures such as this one were standard parts of war and fishing canoes in certain areas of the Solomon Islands. The figure was believed to embody a spirit that not only would offer protection from bad weather and high seas, but also would frighten enemies during warfare with neighboring island peoples.