Me 11868

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us

Speaker’s chair

Oceania, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea, Middle Sepik, Tschessbandai

Prior to 1918

Wood, carved

Georg Wittrock (colonial administrator)

Donation to the museum by Dr. Eichler (patron) in 1918

Me 11868

Figural stools like this one, made from one piece, were among the most important relics of any large family in Papua New Guinea at the beginning of the 20th century.

The teket was located in the men's house of the village, but no one was allowed to sit on it. To this day, the human figure represents the ancestor and primordial ancestor of the clan. Embodied by the stool, the ancestor was thus present at all meetings and disputes of the men. During the frequent debates, the speakers lined up next to the orator's stool, thus standing under the protection of the clan ancestor, speaking in his presence and supported by him. This teket belongs to a more extensive collection of cultural objects that Georg Wittrock had collected during his time as a civil servant in the German colony of German New Guinea from 1904 to 1914. Nothing is known about how the objects were acquired. Because sacred or personal objects were usually not handed over voluntarily, one can assume that they were expropriated by force.

Birgit Scheps-Bretschneider