Media File
Title: Gerua Board
Date: mid-20th century
Culture: probably Siane
Cultural Region: Central Highlands region
Medium: wood and paint
55 11/16 x 14 15/16 x 7/8 in. (141.5 x 38 x 2.3 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Morton D. May
Object Number: 19:1977
Place associated: Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea
Current Location: On View, Gallery 109
A number of different peoples in the eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea use gerua wenena boards. The Siane use them as symbols of the spirits of humans, pigs, and other animals. The boards were also used to transfer spirits from one body to another. In one instance, a pig’s spirit was induced to enter a gerua wenena; after the pig was killed the board was carried in procession through the village. The leader tied the gerua wenena onto his head with strands of bark thread plaited into his hair. Then, with a large crowd of people playing drums around them, he danced with 200 men who also wore gerua enena boards on their heads.
- 1972
Roberta M. Nochimson, New York, NY, USA

1972 - 1977
Morton D. May (1914-1983), St. Louis, MO, purchased from Roberta M. Nochimson [1]

1977 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Morton D. May [2]

[1] An invoice dated November 13, 1972 from Roberta M. Nochimson to Morton D. May documents the purchase of this object, listed as "Gurua Board, Sianni River, Northern Highlands" [May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum].

[2] A letter dated March 1, 1977 from Morton D. May to James N. Wood, director of the Saint Louis Art Museum, includes the offer of this object as part of a larger donation [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, April 14, 1977.
Exhibition History
Title: Ritual Arts of the South Seas: The Morton D. May Collection
Date: August 22 – October 19, 1975
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Publication History
Title: Ritual Arts of the South Seas: The Morton D. May Collection
Year Published: 1975
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