'There are a number of different regional carving styles represented by korwars, and this piece [the present lot] has been attributed to the Biak people [...]. Most Biak examples, however, depict seated figures, while those showing a standing figure carrying an openwork 'shield' are ascribed to the Doreh people [...]. The nature and meaning of the shield form have generated considerable discussion. Baaren [Korwars and the Korwar Style, 1968, pp. 76-77] believes it to represent a single snake or two intertwined snakes. In the mythology of the region, snakes symbolize the underworld and its dangers as well as the powers of regeneration. Relevant to this object, he also notes that "the snake may also turn out to be a young man. This last conception perhaps offers an explanation for the smaller figure which some korwars have in front of them."'
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