Alexander de Antoni: In Balance. Expressing an Integrative World View through Mirroring Art Motifs


The worldviews of the Asmat in southwest New Guinea, as visualized in the symbolic motifs carved on shields and other artifacts, are found to be in coherent proximity to several social and cultural practices associated with this society. Responsible for this congruency is a constituent factor discovered throughout a broad range of phenomena practiced by the Asmat. The factor distilled from an analysis of Asmat customs can be defined as a structuring paradigm. It is characterized by an integrative qualification and outlines a framework of thought which has a molding function on social practices.

[New Guinea, Asmat, art motifs, naming, cosmology, social system]