The Owam was a very honorary award and symbol of prowess that was given to the best and most fierce of Asmat headhunters. It was given to a warrior when he had taken 10 or more heads. Comprised completely of jungle fibers, sago palm and bamboo chutes. It has been ornately decorated with jobs tears and a multitude of tropical bird feathers. Each hanging bamboo chute would represent a head taken and more would be added as time went on which is why there is not an even amount distributed. This Owam contains 16 bamboo chutes. The Owam would be worn over the front of the chest during celebrations and feasts, and would be worn on the back during headhunting raids. The sight of an Owam worn by an enemy headhunter would instill fear, as it was recognized all over Asmat as only being worn by the best warriors. This is an exceptionally rare piece and is almost unheard of outside of a museum as they just haven’t survived over the years as headhunting has died off in Asmat. This was collected by Father Gerard Zegwaard in 1951 and brought back to Europe. The collection number on it is from an old Dutch museum. Provenance: Ex Adamowicz collection, France.
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