Sago Bark Painting

Stunning Sago bark painting, panel shape resembling that of a shield.
Tribe: Kwomo

Origin: Papua New Guinea

Approx Age: Mid 20th Century

Materials: Bark/Paint pigment

Dimensions cm: 131 (tall) x 41 (wide)

Ref. Number: 1228c


This is a stunning Sago bark painting. These bark panels are made by the Kwoma Tribe of Papua New Guinea. The design is unique to the artist and painted using clay and vegetable based paints made from within the village. Abstract motif designs common to this style of decoration representing people, animals, or other natural phenomena associated with the village clans.


These wonderfully painted bark like panels are made by the Kwoma tribe of Papua New Guinea. Produces from sago petioles, the lower portion of the leaves of the sago palm tree. After the petiole is cured and flattened, the artist covers the smooth side with a wash of black clay. The main outlines of the design are laid out in clear water, retraced in the paint, and then filled in with colour and other pigments. The semi naturalistic designs represent people, animals, or other natural phenomena associated with the village clans. Each artist primarily creates paintings of designs that are associated with his own clan. Then these painted panels are installed on the ceiling together with those of other clans. Artists from several different clans were involved in the production of the present ceiling. Panels would be painted with clay and vegetable-based paints made from the village. Bark panels were used quite often to decorate the inside of Men’s meeting houses. These decorations vary from one village to another and they are supposed to protect ancestors and ward off unwanted spirits. They are extremely light and delicate/fragile pieces of artwork.

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