At kaware feasts, the Kamoro, the Papuan people of the region, paraded in their proas. The boats would pass in formation across the width of the river, their oars decorated with bundles of young sago leaves. The sterns were also decorated with openwork planks like this.
The plank was acquired in New Guinea by members of the Southwest New Guinea expedition. This was commissioned in 1904 by the Dutch Geographical Society (Koninklijk Nederlands Aardrijkskundig Genootschap or KNAG). Interest in New Guinea gradually increased in the Netherlands in the early 20th century. At first, expeditions charted the coast. Later, Dutch explorers ventured into the interior.
circa 170 x 62cm (66 15/16 x 24 7/16in.)