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A viewpoint from the Foothills: Making Sepik Valley images as containers

Coupaye, L; (2018) A viewpoint from the Foothills: Making Sepik Valley images as containers. Journal de la Société des océanistes , 146 pp. 227-238. 10.4000/jso.8024.

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Abstract

This paper examines a range of Sepik valley human figures, building on the non-verbal dimensions of images identified by A. Forge, D. Tuzin and G. Bateson, and developed by researchers such as A. Gell, C. Kaufmann and C. Severi. I suggest that one of the non-verbal devices that these figures rely on, betrays an underlying idea of images-as-potential-receptacle, itself based on a reference to the human body as container. Sepik artists can thus use motifs (as visual, material and spatial arrangements) which trigger inferential (indexical, iconic, and/or mnemonic) processes that evoke container-like capacities by reference to the human figure. Based on this hypothesis, I explore the ways in which the surfaces of artefacts are treated in order to both reveal and conceal an interior, as a possible container of ancestral capacities.

Type: Article
Title: A viewpoint from the Foothills: Making Sepik Valley images as containers
DOI: 10.4000/jso.8024
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.4000/jso.8024
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: art, Sepik, semiotics, motifs, surface, body, containers
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058471
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