According to Boulay, roof finials developed from trespass or taboo markers. These markers were ‘signs of the power which comes from the ancestors’ (Kasarhérou & Boulay, Kanak. L’art est une parole, 2013, p. 106), and were used to demarcate cultural boundaries. Boulay convincingly illustrates how the markers, composed of bundles of straw tied to poles, gradually evolved into the characteristic geometric and anthropomorphic forms of the roof finials (ibid., pp. 108-109, 112-113). Like the trespass markers, roof finials ‘indicated that one was entering a highly culturally charged area’ (ibid.). Since the chief’s house was to be approached only from the front, roof finials generally have only one ancestor face. Here however the addorsed faces of two ancestor spirits look out over the community.
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